Nine tries, nine wins in a row – there was no doubting the magic number as the Reds swept aside their visitors from Hartpury to continue a powerful start to the season.
The first half hour of this Championship Cup game may have finished with the home side just 14-5 ahead at Stade Santander International, but the Reds pressed down firmly on the accelerator at that point, and one-way traffic was the result for most of the remaining time
After some early attacking thrusts by Hartpury, the visitors had a scrum five metres from their hosts’ line, but 60 seconds later the Reds had scored. A massive shove, led by front row trio Huw Owen, Eoghan Clarke and Monty Weatherby, secured an undisputable scrum penalty, which allowed Russell Bennett to send a huge clearing kick way beyond halfway. From the resulting lineout the ball was spun across for Brendan Owen to finish in the Bowl corner.
Another scrum penalty set up the second Jersey try as Eoghan Clarke steered a maul over the line, but then Matt McNab’s interception set up the first Hartpury try, finished on the opposite wing by Brad Denty after an 80-metre counter-attack.
Although they could not cash in on a 50:22 kick by Brendan Owen, two late tries before the break secured the home side’s bonus point. Will Brown sprinted over in the corner and then James Scott, a powerful presence throughout, stole a lineout and powered over against one of his former clubs.
Hartpury made a strong start after the break, forcing a stream of penalties that eventually saw Monty Weatherby sin-binned for foul play at a lineout, and a second try for the visitors as Denty fed Harry Short.
The Reds broke the game open with a burst of four tries in 15 minutes, soon after Hartpury’s Jack Tovey saw yellow for dissent. Owen grabbed his second, new signing Hal Chapman claimed a debut try after an assist by Stevie Longwell; then Ben Woollett and Ryan Hutler got in on the action as the home backs ran riot.
Hutler’s try was the pick and was another to result from first-phase play. Max Argyle took on the scrum-half role after a lineout, with conventional ‘9’ Jonny Law outside him, and then Dan Barnes, Charlie Powell and Hutler handling. Woollett raced forward, exchanged passes with another replacement – Jordan Holgate – and then provided the final pass inside to Hutler who celebrated as he crossed the line.
To their credit, the visitors had the energy to claim late scores through Harry Tarling and Short’s second, but Jersey’s replacement hooker James Hadfield bulldozed over from the back of an overthrown lineout to complete the scoring at the death.
The Reds will complete the first block of Championship Cup games with a big challenge away to Ealing Trailfinders at Vallis Way on Saturday, with kick-off at 2pm. The next game at Stade Santander International will mark the resumption of the league campaign, with Richmond the visitors for a game that kicks off at 2pm.
Pic by Rich Chapman
JERSEY REDS: Owen; Hutler, Powell, Barnes, Brown (Woollett 65); Bennett (Holgate 64), Elliott (Law 59); Owen (Grahamslaw 55), Clarke (Hadfield 55), Weatherby (YC 45, Longwell 48), Bain (Everard 52), Scott, Cook (c), Gray (Chapman 43), Argyle.
HARTPURY: Lennon A; Denty, Tovey (YC 50, Tarling 60), Butler, McNab; Mathews, Bruzulier (c) (Lennon O 67); Mulhall (Gibson 64), Tanner (Davies F 51), Rodman (Kloska h-t), Richards (Lewis 57), Davies J, Howard (Eadie 57), Short, Holcombe (Bartlett 65).
REFEREE: Dan Jones. Assistants: George Selwood, Ryan Collier
Half Time: 24-5
Tries: Owen B 6, 54, Clarke 15, Brown 34, Scott 40, Chapman 62, Woollett 65, Hutler 68, Hadfield 80
Conversions: Bennett 6, 15, 62, Owen B 65, 68
Tries: Denty 32, Short 42, 74, Tarling 71
Conversions: Mathews 71, 74
21 Sep 2023
Chiefs visit Stade for first-ever Jersey encounter