The Reds competed strongly against last season’s relegated Premiership side before Newcastle upped their game in the final quarter.
Falcons’ replacement George Wacokecoke scored two tries late in the game which made the difference, with a losing bonus point just out of the reach for the home side in spite of an excellent try by Will Homer.
Toby Flood kicked penalties for the visitors in the first quarter, with Greg Dyer responding for the Reds, who survived a 10-minute spell without prop Harry Morley. The loosehead was penalised several times in the scrum and eventually sin-binned, the yellow card symptomatic of his side’s difficulty at the set piece.
Both teams suffered from their inaccuracy once they had reached scoring positions, with the Reds producing some good phases after a line-breaking run by Auguy Slowik before Rory Bartle was forced into touch.
Winger Leroy Van Dam and skipper/number 8 Max Argyle were stand-outs for the home side, for whom Greg Dyer looked assured at fly-half in his competitive debut.
After an attritional start to the second period, one more penalty by Flood kept the scoreline tight going into the final quarter. The Reds brought on several players from the bench, with Roy Godfrey and Jack Macfarlane playing their part in an improved showing at scrum and lineout time.
Replacement Micky Young sparked the first try of the game with a sharp run out of defence for the Falcons, with the ball taken on by Tom Arscott and Jamie Blamire. The hooker’s rampaging run was ended just short, but when Jersey’s Luc Jones killed the ball, a quickly-tapped penalty was spun to Wacokecoke, who scored, with Jones subsequently despatched to the sin-bin.
The Reds gave themselves hope with a well-taken try as Roy Godfrey and Leroy Van Dam combined to send Will Homer sprinting down the left flank to the line, but the Falcons had the last laugh. Adam Radwan’s mazy run took him deep into Reds’ territory and Wacokecoke finished smartly to seal the win.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon said: “I was pretty proud of the way the boys fronted up, and we were a couple of passes and the odd handling error away from more scores.
“You could see the quality that Newcastle had, especially some of the options they had on the bench, and there were some errors at the set piece and lapses of discipline that cost us.”
Having opted not to play any pre-season games, Newcastle DoR Dean Richards was pleased to see his side claim a cup victory to kick off their 2019/20 campaign.
“It was great to get the win, but I was also pleased with the performance,” he said. “It was our first bit of proper contact, and it was a bit loose at times, but we created plenty of opportunities.
“We had several new players who all played their part, and although it was disappointing to concede a try, Jersey were tough opponents and probably deserved their score.”
Pic: Rich Chapman
JERSEY REDS: Slowik; Williams (Homer 64), Newey (Spencer 58), Best, Van Dam; Dyer, Jones (YC 61) (Cope 72); Morley (YC 18) (Godfrey 41), Harris (Macfarlane 46), Clarey (Alexis 75), Beckett (Thompson 68), Bartle, Joyce (Upfield 49), Bainbridge, Argyle (c).
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: Arscott; Radwan, Penny (Wacokecoke 10), Flood, Sinoti; Hodgson (Connon 68), Stuart (Young 53); Brocklebank (Lockwood 53), Blamire (Maddison 64), Daniels (Ah You 53), Barry (Salmon 49), Robinson, Welch (c) (Uzokwe h-t), Graham, Chick.
REFEREE: Matt Turvey. Assistants: Nigel Carrick, Darryl Chapman
Half Time: 3-6
Man-of the-match (as chosen by match sponsor Coutt’s): Leroy Van Dam (Reds)
Try: Homer 71
Penalty: Dyer 22
Tries: Wacokecoke 60, 75
Conversion: Flood 60
Penalties: Flood 5, 19, 57