For the first time in many seasons, Jersey's 1st and 2nd teams were in back-to-back action on the same ground against the same opponents. Cheered on by a healthy-sized - and noisy - contingent of travelling supporters, the two sides responded with an impressive win double.
After Jersey Athletic had completed their win in the opening game, the 1st XV wasted no time in tearing into London Scottish, a team who finished third in the Greene King IPA Championship table last season and who had won the last five matches against the Islanders.
An early penalty won by Gary Graham's good work at the breakdown - this was to be a feature of the display by Jersey's forwards - provided the chance for Aaron Penberthy to gain field position. The Cornishman, back in the Jersey XV for the first time this season, kicked impressively from hand and set up the platform for a forward drive and a series of attacking phases. Eventually Brendan Cope switched the ball right via a run from deep from Lewis Robling, who found Penberthy and allowed the full-back to offload deftly to Ross Adair who crossed for his first league try for Jersey.
Conditions for kicking were windy and at times wet, but nothing Jersey's fly-half couldn't 'Cope' with - the South African landed a splendid conversion from the touchline, and later added a second conversion plus two penalties from three attempts.
The Exiles responded to a 0-10 deficit after seven minutes with a try that stemmed from a kick ahead by former Jersey centre Drew Locke. The pacy Matt Williams was first to the ball on Jersey's 22, hacked on and won the race to the try-line where he dived on the loose ball to score.
In forcing a series of penalties at the breakdown, Jersey were able to keep the ball moving, both through Cope's boot and the powerful driving maul which brought a try for Graham after 29 minutes to make it 5-20.
Some good play by Jersey in the closing stages of the half could have brought further reward; highlights included a fine leaping take from Tom Howe and some charging runs from the likes of Martin Garcia-Veiga - the hooker was named 'Star Man' in Sunday's Rugby Paper - Dave McKern and Nick Haining.
The Exiles made a tactical change at the break, bringing Craig Jackson into their back-line in a bid to recover lost ground, and showed greater attacking threat in the second period. However this was nothing that the visitors couldn't counter, with a committed defensive effort that encompassed all 15 starters, plus some useful bench impact, which included debuts for Oliver Tomaszczyk and Uili Kolo'ofa'i.
Jersey also had some opportunities in attack, but were unable to force any further score.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon paid tribute to the travelling supporters, who he said made a significant difference, as well as to his players.
"We have been waiting for some time to have a game where everyone stuck to task and delivered an 80-minute display," he said. "Make no mistake, London Scottish threw everything at us in that second half and I couldn't be happier at how we had an answer to everything they tried."
The impressive display by Jersey, and the end result, were underlined by some of the statistics. This was in the top three meanest defensive displays by Jersey in 76 Championship outings (alongside the clean sheet in the 19-0 win against Plymouth last November, and the February 2015 win over Bedford by 17-3). And it is believed to be the fewest points scored by London Scottish in approximately 50 Championship matches on home soil since being promoted from National One in 2011. The Scots had previously scored at an average of 21 points per game in the league to date this season, having scored 24 points per game points on average in their Championship outings in 2014/15.
Earlier in the day Jersey Athletic played London Scottish Highlanders on pitch 6 at the Richmond Athletic Ground. In wet and windy conditions the visiting side knew forward parity would be important, but they went beyond this and dominated up front. A Highlanders scrum near their own line was driven back and Craig Simeon finished off the pushover try for the opening score. Two Rupert Lee tries and one in response by the Exiles made it 7-17 at the break.
The Athletic weathered some sustained pressure from their opponents in the third quarter, but held firm, with the forwards staying strong and some committed efforts in the backs. It may not have been a day for running rugby, but Athletic played a varied game as well as tackling anything that moved. A penalty kick at goal was missed by the hosts, unlike the visitors, for whom Simon Johnson slotted a three-pointer to extend the lead. Jersey withstood a 10-minute spell with 14 men after Chris Voss was yellow-carded for a high tackle, and then the Athletic side sealed the win, and a bonus point, with a fourth try with 10 minutes to play: Andrew Pitcher the scorer and Johnson adding his second conversion. The final score was London Scottish Highlanders 7 Jersey Athletic 27.
1 James Hallam (replaced by James Gibbons 60) 2 Adam Kwasnicki (replaced by David Cherry 50) 3 Matt Shields (replaced by Jimmy Litchfield 60) 4 Kieran Treadwell (replaced by Rory Bartle 60) 5 Josh Thomas Brown (replaced by Will Carrick-Smith 50) 6 Freddie Clarke 7 Chevvy Pennycook 8 Mark Bright (c) 9 Matt Heeks (replaced by Ben Calder 52) 10 Oli Grove 11 Joe Marchant (replaced by Craig Jackson HT) 12 Jason Harries 13 Drew Locke 14 Matt Williams 15 Peter Lydon
1 Sam Lockwood (replaced by Ignacio Lancuba 62) 2 Martin Garcia-Veiga (replaced by Nick Selway 72) 3 Danny Herriot (replaced by Oliver Tomaszczyk 62) 4 Dave McKern (replaced by Uili Kolo'ofa'i 56) 5 Pierce Phillips 6 Alex Rae (c) (replaced by James Freeman 65) 7 Gary Graham 8 Nick Haining 9 Sami Fisilau (replaced by Jack Moates 76) 10 Brendan Cope 11 Ross Adair 12 Lewis Robling 13 Fautua Otto (replaced by Mark McCrea 65) 14 Tom Howe 15 Aaron Penberthy
Try: Matt Williams (19)
Tries: Ross Adair (4) Gary Graham (29)
Conversions: Brendan Cope (4, 29)
Penalties: Brendan Cope (7, 26)
Referee: Steve Lee
Half-Time: London Scottish 5 - 20 Jersey
07 Dec 2022
Biljon's side seek eighth straight league win this season