Eight successive league wins – amid a run of 10 straight victories in the Championship stretching back to February: the Jersey Reds’ bus stayed on track thanks to a dominant last-quarter display.
Ben Woollett’s hat-trick was the stand-out scoring feat, as all six of the home side’s tries were scored by the threequarters, although it was a strong forward effort that set up the opportunities for the men out wide.
Woollett and fellow wing Tomi Lewis wasted little time making their mark on the game, both carrying with pace inside the opening minute of the game. Lewis was brought down by desperate Richmond defence, but Jordan Holgate followed up to score, with just 46 seconds on the clock.
The next job for the Reds was an intense stint of defensive duty, with the visitors pounding at the tryline, and even getting across it one stage, only to be held up. But the defence held, eventually forcing a knock-on that led to a scrum penalty and the chance to clear.
The home side claimed their second try when quickly-worked ball from a lineout – rather than the anticipated maul – was worked wide for Woollett to stroll over. The Australian then struck again when he raced after a cross-kick by Russell Bennett, who had been shaping to kick a penalty for touch down the left-hand side but then pulled a surprise rabbit from the hat. Woollett had plenty to do, but was able to control the ball with his foot, nudging it over the line and touching down.
Richmond managed to get on the scoreboard as a rolling maul was brought down, earning a penalty try and a yellow card for Jersey prop Adam Nicol.
The opening score of the second period also went the visitors’ way, with Jake Monson claiming the kick-off and then eventually finishing a series of phases within two minutes of the restart.
Although fly-half Bill Johnston added the conversion for Richmond, he was unsuccessful with a penalty attempt from 40 metres that would have brought the scores level.
The visiting eight had been under pressure at scrum-time through the game, hampered by losing tight-head Jimmy Litchfield during the warm-up, and this provided a platform for much of the home side's attacking work.
A fine offload from Alex McHenry looked to have brought Woollett his third, but the try was chalked off for crossing by another player. Not to be denied, Woollett then broke through in midfield and raced 30 metres to the line as his team made good use of a scrum penalty advantage.
There was still time for further scores, courtesy of fine handling moves by the Reds, with forwards and backs combining. Holgate finished the first, which came direct from a lineout and included good set-up work by Tim Grey, back in action as a replacement after a long injury lay-off, and Lewis.
The last try was arguably the best, finished by Charlie Powell for his first try since starting his loan move from Bristol Bears. TJ Harris had taken the ball forward at pace, then linked with Woollett and Jonny Law before Sean O’Connor took the ball on and supplied the scoring pass.
Owain James claimed a late consolation for the visitors as he raced on to Johnston’s cross-kick, but it was not enough for the visitors to claim a consolation score in a match that marked the 20th anniversary of the clubs meeting in London 3 South-West in October 2012.
The Reds’ next match will come this Friday, away to Nottingham, ahead of the final game of the year at Stade Santander International, when Bedford Blues will be the visitors on Saturday December 17th, with kick-off at 2pm.
Try clip courtesy Jersey Reds TV/ 3Ci Sport
JERSEY REDS: Van Breda (Hutler 63); Woollett, McHenry (Powell 63), Holgate, Lewis; Bennett, Elliott (Law 70); McGrath (Owen 60), Clarke (Harris 51), Nicol (YC 27, Weatherby 63), Bain, O’Connor, Argyle (Grey 66), Wynne (c), Chapman (Cook 51).
RICHMOND: Kaye (James 63); O’Meara, Little, Duncan (Atkins 54), Graham; Johnston, Lennon (Stafford 49); Maguire (Cave 70), Post (Vajner 54), Spring, Monson, Carrick-Smith (Williams 61), Massey, Wakeling (Scott 70), Bright (c). Not used: Litchfield
REFEREE: Harry Walbaum. Assistants: Simon Park, Veryan Boscawen
Half Time: 17-7
Tries: Holgate 1, 72, Woollett 17, 23, 62, Powell 76
Conversions:Bennett 23, 62
Tries: Penalty try 27, Monson 42, James 80
Conversion: Johnston 42
03 Feb 2023
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