London Scottish 41 Jersey 33
report, by Tom Innes, produced by kind permission of the
Jersey Evening Post
pictures from the game can be seen HERE
Jersey produced a thrilling but ultimately flawed performance in
defeat against London Scottish.
The Exiles' recent good form, now extended to 26 points from
eight games, had been built on the back of a much stronger
defensive effort under the watchful eye of French legend Serge
But now the home side reverted to early season defensive
frailty, leaking five tries to a rampant Jersey side, and having to
look to other factors on which to build their win. The crucial
ingredient was Jersey indiscipline, which led to two yellow cards,
and five penalty shots at goal for James Love. Four of them sailed
between the posts, the fifth crept home via an upright, and
ultimately the Scots had an eight-point cushion.
Jersey emerged onto a firm pitch in bright conditions, in front
of the biggest contingent of travelling fans seen all season. The
away supporters were desperate for some early cheer, but in fact
they saw three successive penalty concessions, the last of which
was turned into five points via a textbook catch-and-drive lineout
move finished off by hooker Adam Kwasnicki.
Michael Le Bourgeois, who had an off-colour day at fly-half,
missed a penalty chance soon afterwards, and Love extended the lead
with a penalty set up by his pack's driving maul.
The penalty count turned in Jersey's favour, but two attacking
lineouts were lost. However the visitors looked dangerous with ball
in hand, and after good approach by Barry Davies and Guy Thompson,
Ed Dawson finished superbly in the corner.
Jersey were competing well in most areas, with Thompson
consistently prominent and Charlie Walker-Blair relishing the
chance to work off the frustrations of an injury-plagued season
with some thunderous defence. The pair lost their back-row
colleague however, Fred Silcock paying the price for his side's
string of first-half penalty offences.
Love added six more points during the sin-bin period, although
Jersey finished the half brightly. Thompson and Sean McCarthy
surged forward in one of a wave of attacks, and eventually quick
ball enabled Mark McCrea to feed Max Stelling for a try by the
Love's fourth penalty had extended his side's lead to five
points before many spectators had returned to their positions with
a half-time beverage, but Jersey were soon on the attack. An
incisive run by Stelling led to Charlie Clare crossing the line,
but Jersey's hooker couldn't ground the ball and the maul was
pushed back into play by the Exiles. Clare wasn't to be denied for
long however, when a scrum penalty set up a lineout - Clare found
his man with the throw and finished off a powerful drive.
The conversion by Le Bourgeois, the best of his four successful
strikes, put Jersey in front for the first time. Sadly they were
ahead for just two minutes, winger Miles Mantella grabbing a second
try for the Scots when he pilfered the ball at the side of a maul
and ran unopposed to the line from 20 metres.
The scoreboard was kept moving in the home side's favour with
Love adding a conversion and a monster penalty effort, but Jersey
continued to look threatening in attack, and a period of pressure
ended with Thompson charging through to the posts (27-26).
Once again Jersey were vulnerable soon after scoring, and
Mantella was again the beneficiary with another try. There was
still time for Jersey, but a promising attack involving McCrea and
fellow debutant Mark Foster ended with a potentially try-scoring
pass going to ground, and then another gilt-edged chance was
spurned when Le Bourgeois kicked a penalty to touch but sent the
ball to the wrong side of the corner flag.
The Exiles sensed they'd been given a let-off and pressed
forward as the clock passed 70 minutes, determined to finally kill
off the game. They laid siege to the Jersey line, and when Thompson
tried to intercept a pop pass close to the try-line, a penalty and
another yellow card were inevitable.
Three more points from Love would have been the cautious
solution for the home side, but instead they took a scrum and
number eight Mark Bright went over for the bonus point try.
There was still time for Richard Barrington to score his second
last-minute try of the season, seemingly after dropping the ball
onto his foot, but the successfully conversion left the Islanders
frustrated - just a point away from a losing bonus point, and aware
that this was a game that could have been won.
Jersey, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
Forwards: Sean McCarthy, Charlie Clare, Jon Brennan,
Nathan Hannay, Dave Markham, Charlie Walker-Blair, Fred Silcock (YC
28), Guy Thompson (YC 72). Half-backs: Nicky Griffiths
(capt), Michael Le Bourgeois. Backs: Ed Dawson, Mark McCrea, Max
Stelling, Mark Foster, Barry Davies.
Replacements: James Gethings for Brennan (50-52 mins, and 58
mins), Kingsley Lang for Silcock (58), Richard Barrington for
McCarthy (74), Talite Vaioleti for Walker-Blair (74), Dave Felton
for Clare (76), Donovan Sanders for McCrea (78). Not used:
London Scottish: Mark Irish, Adam Kwasnicki, Eric
Fry, Alex Karonias, Tyler Hotson, Ben Russell, Chevvy Pennycook,
Mark Bright (capt); Richard Bolt, Phil Godman; Miles Mantella, Andy
Reay, Oliver Grove, James Love, Jim Thompson. Replacements (all
used): Nick Mayhew, Harry Allen, Lewis Thiede, Sam Twomey,
Ross Samson, David Howells, PJ Gidlow.
Referee: Matt Carley
Men-of-the-match: James Love (Bedford); Guy
Tries: Kwasnicki 4, Mantella 51, 65, Bright 74
Conversions: Love 51, 65, 74
Penalties: Love 23, 29, 34, 41, 56
Tries: Dawson 24, Stelling 40, Clare 48, Thompson 59,
Conversions: Le Bourgeois 40, 48, 59, 80
23 Mar 2023
January lessons show danger of banana skin in SW London