Jersey endured another frustrating afternoon away at Old Deer Park, coming up short and having to settle for their third losing bonus point in a row.
The game was played in near perfect conditions with the sun shining after earlier rain, and it was Jersey that started more brightly.
Having gone 3-0 down to an early Welsh penalty, the Reds then controlled much of the first 20 minutes, playing in the right areas and constantly putting the Welsh defence under pressure. Two tries ensued, the first for George Watkins who came of his wing at pace to enter the line and cut through to score under the posts, Katz converted. This was soon followed up by a try for opposite winger Richard Lane in the opposite corner after more sustained work.
Leading 3-12 the travelling faithful must have thought that their fortunes against London Welsh could be on the turn with Jersey still seeking their first win over the Exiles.
Alas, this was not to be the case, and as the first half went on the Welsh regrouped and started to exert authority in the set piece and at lineouts, and scored twice from driving mauls.
The first score came following a scrum penalty. Hughes put them in the corner, and the catch and drive was faultless with Adam Kwasnicki claiming the score.
The second came after Ross Adair had done well to claim a high ball, but was then harshly penalised for holding on as he went to ground. The result was the same though, and Kwasnicki picked up his second score that was converted by Hughes to put the Welsh in front 15-12.
As the halftime whistle beckoned Jersey were awarded a penalty of their own that Katz stroked over to level the scores, only for the Welsh to then regain the lead with the last kick of the half having secured another penalty from a scrum.
Jersey knew that they needed to restore compusure at the start of the second period and try to reclaim control. This they did and Katz was soon to level the scores with an easy penalty.
Unfortunately that was to be the last score for the Reds, and following the restart Welsh were soon back in front. Josh McNally carried well up to the Reds 22 and the Welsh then ground down the Jersey defence before finally passing the ball out wide for Miles Mantella to score in the corner – 23-18.
The Reds did get themselves into positions to score and did put the Welsh under some pressure, and indeed this was telling as Joe Carlisle saw yellow for a deliberate knock on. Katz opted to go for the corner, but his kick was misjudged and went dead, thus letting the Exiles off the hook.
Throughout the 10 minutes that ensued the Welsh took control of the ball and slowed the game to their own pace to see out the man disadvantage.
Worryingly for Jersey other opportunities came and went with balls not going to hand and some missed lineouts, and it was these errors that were to cost the visitors their chance of victory, coupled with a higher penalty count.
After the game a disappointed head coach Harvey Biljon put the loss down to small margins and praised the Welsh for the way that they controlled their own set pieces. “We had chances to win it, and you have to take responsibility for that. The Championship is tough rugby and it comes down to the small margins.”
The Reds will be back in action next Saturday at home to another set of Exiles, London Scottish with kick off at 3pm.
15. Martyn Thomas, 14. Kristian Phillips, 13. Nick Reynolds, 12. Seb Jewell, 11. Miles Mantella, 10. Glyn Hughes, 9. Ryan Glynn, 1. Darryl Marfo, 2. Adam Kwasnicki, 3. Ben Cooper, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Josh Thomas Brown, 6. Barney Maddison, 7. Ryan Hodson (C), 8. Kieran Murphy.
Replacements: Joe Carlisle for Reynolds (8min), Nathan Morris for Kwasnicki (61min), James Hallam for Marfo (61min), Rob Lewis for Glynn (70min), Ben Pienaar for Brown
Replacements not used: Lovejoy Chawatama, Alex Woolford.
YC: Joe Carlisle (64min).
15. Ross Adair, 14. George Watkins, 13. Regan King, 12. Lewis Robling, 11. Rich Lane, 10. Sam Katz, 9. Kieran Hardy, 1. Sean McCarthy, 2. Joe Buckle, 3. Jake Armstrong, 4. Nick Campbell, 5. Dave McKern, 6. James Freeman (C), 7. James Doyle, 8. Nick Haining.
Replacements: Mark Tampin for Armstrong (h-t), Nicholas Selway for Buckle (42min), Uili Kolo’ofa’I for McCarthy (52min), Marc Thomas for McKern (52min), Max Argyle for Doyle (59min), Brendan Cope for Katz (75min).
Replacement not used: Joel Dudley.
Referee: Darren Gamage
Assistant referees: Andy Watson & Brian Ravenhill
London Welsh scorers
Tries: Kwasnicki (2), Mantella
Penalties: Hughes (2).
Jersey Reds scorers
Tries: Watkins, Lane
Penalties: Katz (2).