Jersey Reds flew back empty-handed from London for the second weekend running after a disappointing second-half display against Richmond.
Playing on their own turf in what was nominally an away fixture, Richmond recovered from a single-point half-time deficit to seize control of the game with two converted tries in the early stages of the second period.
The Jersey squad battled throughout but a high error count and the concession of 14 penalties meant they had too much to do and a mauled try at the death was too little, too late.
Richmond had the first chance to score points when Ted Landray went for the posts early on, but hooked his effort wide, and his team were denied again when Chris Elder burst through but was called back for a forward pass.
Both sides were struggling to impose themselves, with plentiful penalties in both directions and an enthusiasm to penalise the attacking side for rolling forward with momentum before presenting the ball.
The Jersey lineout was also functioning fitfully, meaning that the opportunity to attack via driving mauls was compromised.
But the Reds – wearing Blue for the day – got the opening score when Brendan Cope picked off an intercept and coasted to the posts from 40 metres out, adding a straightforward conversion.
Landray was able to haul his side back into contention by slotting two penalties as the Reds were unable to stay on the right side of the referee, conceding a total of eight penalties to five by Richmond in the first period.
There was also an early change in the Jersey pack with Sean O’Connor forced off and Macauley Cook coming on for his debut.
Cope stretched his team’s lead with a well-struck early penalty from 43 metres, but almost straight from the resumption Richmond claimed their opening try. The ball was stolen in possession by Myles Scott and fed by Freddie Hosking to former Reds’ scrum-half Luc Jones, who crossed in the corner.
Ahead for the first time, Richmond stretched their advantage to 10 points after a spell of pressure. Landray spotted an opportunity out wide and although his run initially took him backwards, he veered towards the line and then threw a long pass to Dan Kelly, with the winger jinking inside to score.
Landray’s third penalty just after the hour gave his side some breathing space (10-23) and although there was some good energy from the Reds’ bench, no points resulted until a maul was finished by George Edgson. Cope’s conversion could have brought his team within bonus point range, but slid just wide.
The Reds will be looking to get their first win of the new season next Saturday when they make the trip to Bedford Blues.
pic by Simon Cooper snapzman.co.uk
Jersey Reds v Richmond – Greene King IPA Championship, Round 3/11, Richmond Athletic Ground, Saturday March 20th 2021, k-o 1.30pm (* = debut)
Jersey Reds (15-9, 1-8 * = debut)
Tom Williams; George Spencer, Brendan Owen, Dan Barnes, Darren Atkins; Brendan Cope, James Elliott; Dan Richardson, Jack Macfarlane, Ciaran Parker, Zak Farrance, Sean O’Connor, Max Argyle, Lewis Wynne (capt), Kyle Hatherell.
Replacements (all used): George Edgson *, Roy Godfrey, Zei Alexis, Macauley Cook *, Tim Grey, Cameron Nordli Kelemeti, Bader Pretorius *, Jack Roberts *
Richmond (15-9, 1-8)
Will Kaye; Jake Caddy, Cameron Mitchell (capt), Chris Wolfe-Elder, Dan Kelly; Ted Landray, Luc Jones; Jonny Harris, Jack Musk, Kurt Schonert, Byron Hodge, Freddie Hosking, Jesse Liston, Jack Allcock, Myles Scott.
Replacements: Mike Perks, Jake Byrne, Jimmy Litchfield, Sam Collingridge, Hamish Barton, Callum Watson, Lewis Dennett, Hamish Graham
Tries: Cope 25, Edgson 77
Conversion: Cope 25
Penalty: Cope 42
Tries: Jones 44, Kelly 53
Conversions: Landray 44, 53
Penalties: Landray 28, 38, 61
Referee: Joe James. Assistants: Peter Brunt, Richard Haughton