The Reds produced an impressive display to deliver a gift-wrapped bonus point victory to their supporters in the final home game of 2021.
Four first-half tries were at the heart of the display, with London Scottish being outmuscled and exposed out wide on several occasions.
The Reds opened the scoring from their first line-break as a flat pass from fly-half Tom Pittman sent Jordan Holgate racing through. Holgate’s pass to Ryan Olowofela left the wing with plenty to do from 35 metres out, but he accelerated round the outside to score.
Two Harry Sheppard penalties from the same location, 36 metres from the posts, gave the Exiles a narrow lead before the Reds responded with a try from a driving maul, finished by Steve Longwell.
Jersey’s 19-year-old hooker Harry Doolan had an early taste of the action when Eoghan Clarke was forced from the field with a head injury after just five minutes, with the replacement playing his part in a committed display by the home pack.
The Reds raised their game in the closing stages of the half. Olowofela raced through again and supplied a scoring pass to Macauley Cook, and then from closer range Max Argyle fed Holgate for the bonus point score.
Former Jersey hooker Nick Selway gave the Scots hope when he scored from a rolling maul early in the second half but then the Reds cranked up the pressure through their forwards. There were also occasional threats out wide, with Olowofela coming very close to an interception score at one stage.
The Exiles resisted strongly at first, but were conceding multiple penalties and eventually the referee lost patience and sin-binned replacement prop Alex Gibson for one scrum infringement too many – the visitors eventually conceded a total of 18 penalties to 10 by the home side.
The Reds carried on attacking through the forwards but then worked the ball wide during another period of penalty advantage – as the ball was spun wide, new signing Ioan Davies fed Brendan Owen for a try in the corner, impressively converted by Pittman.
Director of rugby Harvey Biljon was pleased to see his Jersey side take their chances.
“We couldn’t always play at the speed we wanted to, and Scottish battled hard, but the boys were pretty clinical, especially at the back end of the first half,” he said.
London Scottish director of rugby said: “Our defence let us down in the first half – we were too tight at the breakdown and Jersey punished us.
“I was super-proud of the guys’ performance in the second half, the defence was excellent and we made a real contest of it. It was a tough day but we’ll learn a lot from this.”
With matches involving the top two having been called off, the bonus point victory was enough to see the Reds go above Cornish Pirates into second place in the Championship, two points behind leaders Ealing.
Pictures by Rich Chapman
JERSEY REDS: Owen B; Olowofela (Davies 62), Holgate, Barnes (Roberts 35), Brown; Pittman, Elliott (Mitchell 68); Flynn (Owen H 62), Clarke (Doolan 5), Longwell (Higgins 74), O’Connor, Cook (Everard 74), Humfrey (White 51), Wynne (c), Argyle.
LONDON SCOTTISH: Fielding; Ferdinand, Hanks (Georgiou 51), Pohe, Halaifonua; Sheppard, Nutton (May 44); Reynolds (Zigiriadis 51), Selway (c), Rees (Gibson 68, YC 72), Tyas, Balocco (Ehizode 51), Baldwin (Ingall 44), Tuilagi (King 57), Wilson. Unused: Petty
REFEREE: Nick Wood. Assistants: James Clarke, Michael Woods
Half Time: 24-6
Tries: Olowofela 8, Longwell 25, Cook 33, Holgate 37, Owen B 74
Conversion: Pittman 33, 37, 74
Try: Selway 50
Conversion: Sheppard 50
Penalties: Sheppard 11, 15
23 Mar 2023
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