Jersey's final pre-season preparations saw the Islanders run in
seven tries against a plucky Blackheath side whose efforts weren't
reflected in the final margin.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon saw his current team have too much
power for the side where he used to be Player Coach, and admitted
he would have a tough job selecting his squad for Jersey's
Championship opener at Moseley next weekend.
"A number of players have put their hands up and there will be
some selection headaches," he said. "It wasn't the perfect
performance, and we were frustrated by Blackheath, but I would have
settled for that scoreline and was pleased we could test ourselves
in greasy conditions."
National One Blackheath had the better of the early exchanges,
gaining territory from several penalty awards and some Jersey
errors, but couldn't break the deadlock, and the hosts scored first
through Ryan Hodson after a textbook catch-and-drive move from a
lineout. Hodson was well-placed to score an identical try soon
afterwards, but this time the ball was fed to scrum-half Ryan Glynn
whose pinpoint kick through enabled Lewis Robling to finish.
Jonny Bentley's solo effort gave Jersey a third try; Blackheath
came close through Gavin O'Meara and Mike Canty before half-time
and finally scored early in the second half when a cross-kick by
Oli Evans was caught and touched down by replacement Ben
The home side roared back with tries for Tommy Bell and Mark
Foster, but Blackheath were competitive enough to force a yellow
card for Jersey's Joe Buckle and a 60-metre intercept try for
Canty. The Championship side had the last word however with Paula
Kaho crossing from close range and Mark McCrea winning the race to
a loose ball that had been hacked over the tryline.
Blackheath Director of Rugby Simon Legg was pleased with the
test his side had faced.
"We've got difficult trips to Fylde and Rosslyn Park to start
the season and we wanted tough opponents ahead of those games," he
said. "I was pleased with the effort and attitude of my players and
I think we were more competitive than the final scoreline
Jersey: Bell, Pointer (McCrea 41), Locke
(Foster 55), Roblin (Bishop 55), Burroughs, Bentley (Penberthy 55),
Glynn (Dudley 62); Lockwood (Lancuba 50), Thomas (Harris 50),
Williams (Herriott 50), Campbell (Phillips 41), Rae (capt), Noone
(Maidment 62), Hodson (Buckle 41), Kaho. Replacement not
Blackheath: Canty, Griffiths (Hardy 71), Burcham
(Ellis 50), Evans, Chapman (Summers 41), Carlisle (Sheppard 41),
Trotter (Munton 68); Croall (Cleverley 50), O'Meara (James 50),
Litchfield, Basson, Oram, Liston, Nagle-Taylor, Catt.
Replacements not used: North, Spanswick, Davies
Referee: Jamie Leahy
Star Man: Tommy Bell (Jersey)
Tries: Hodson 18, Robling 25, Bentley 33, Bell 53, Foster
66, Kaho 75, McCrea 77
Conversions: Bell 18, 25, 33, 66, 75, 77
Tries: Summers 44, Canty 71
Conversion: Sheppard 44
18 May 2023
DoR pays tribute to leaving players after title-winning season