Jersey scored four tries to two against National One opponents Coventry but were unable to pull clear in the closing stages, with the visitors taking heart from keeping the second half points tally to 7-apiece.
Nevertheless it was another good pre-season work-out for the Reds against a side who fielded a squad of whom more than two-thirds boasted Championship or Premiership experience
One of five new signings on show in the hosts' starting XV, flanker Seb Nagle-Taylor, opened the scoring for the home side when he took Brendan Cope's pass and cruised over, and then Kieran Hardy's perfectly-weighted grubber kick brought a try in the corner for Ross Adair - the Ulsterman's third of the season so far. Hardy himself twisted over for the third try after Coventry's Luke Narraway was sin-binned for his side's persistent offending, but the visitors stayed in contention thanks to Scott Tolmie's try after a fine run by James Stokes and five points from the boot of fly-half Will Maisey.
An early penalty try got Jersey going in the second half, the referee running to the posts after a rolling maul was brought down illegally, which this season brings an automatic seven points with no conversion; thereafter the Reds, who introduced a sixth debutant, hooker Jared Saunders, from the bench, were shut out by determined defence and a failure to take their chances - two attacking lineouts in promising positions were lost and there were other handling errors in open play, while Coventry claimed a second try from Harry Morley, the replacement prop scoring within a minute of taking to the field.
The Jersey defence was solid for the most part and there were some encouraging flashes of attacking potential shown by the likes of Jason Worrall, Cope and Apakuki Ma'afu
Coventry Director Rowland Winter said: "We're not entirely happy, there was a lack of accuracy and our first-half discipline was lacking on occasions, but we've improved from last year [a 47-5 pre-season defeat to the Reds] and have lots to build on."
Reds' Head Coach Harvey Biljon said: "Our squad is coming together well - Coventry were a tough proposition although I felt the penalty count would have brought an earlier yellow card in a league game."
Jersey will complete their pre-season preparations with a trip to London next weekend to take on Harlequins at The Stoop, and then kick off their Greene King IPA Championship campaign with a home tie against Doncaster Knights on Saturday September 2nd.
JERSEY REDS: Van Breda (capt); Hodson (Worrall h-t), Abrahams (Best 53), Ma'afu (Eastwell 62), Adair; Cope, Hardy (Dudley 56); Woolmore (Brodley 62), Macfarlane (Saunders 50), Clarey (Armstrong 28), Voss (Bartle 53), Quarrie (Sexton 17), Rogerson, Nagle-Taylor, Argyle (Joyce 59).
COVENTRY: Stokes; Asiedu, Stevens, Tuitupou, Knox; Maisey, White; Litchfield, Tolmie, Boulton (capt), Dacres, Poole, Daynes, Preece, Narraway (YC 35). Replacements (rolling): Nilsen, Brown, Gray, Brazier, Fenner, Morley, Maka'afi, Povoas, Matoto, Grove
REFEREE: Anthony Woodthorpe. Assistants: Lionel Spooner, Clare Daniels
Half Time: 19-10
Tries: Nagle-Taylor 12, Adair 25, Hardy 36, Penalty Try 46
Conversions: Cope 25, 36
Tries: Tolmie 40, Morley 65
Conversions: Maisie 46, Fenner 65
Penalty: Maisie 30
21 Sep 2023
Chiefs visit Stade for first-ever Jersey encounter