RUGBY UNION: NATIONAL 1
Macclesfield RUFC 15 Jersey RFC 24
A potent combination of strong defence and rapier-like counter
attacking; this was the winning cocktail for Jersey, a team who are
on song, and on the rise up the National One table.
The physical and forward-based challenge of Macclesfield had
been enough to unseat leaders Ealing the previous weekend, and
ensured a gruelling afternoon for a Jersey squad buoyed by the
return of influential players like Dave Felton, Ross Broadfoot and
With a strong wind at their backs, the home team had territorial
advantage during the first half but failed to capitalise. Meanwhile
Jersey tackled anything that moved, turned over key ball, to the
despair of the home crowd, and seized their opportunities with
The Islanders were restricted to four first-half visits to the
Macc 22 but came away with three tries - firstly through Guy
Thompson, whose seven tries during 'Movember' may spark calls for
permanent facial hair. The flanker's 50-metre burst finished off
nice handling by Jim Brownrigg and Steve O'Brien in a move sparked
by Dave McCormack's quick tap penalty.
Intense pressure by the Macc forwards led to the equalising try
after 10 minutes. A series of drives were repelled, but eventually
Jersey were short-handed in the backs and the ball was worked wide
to Josh Fowles, who crossed easily.
Tom Eaton's penalty gave Macc the lead, but soon afterwards a
rumbling Jersey forward drive put the Cheshire side on the back
foot, and quick ball to the left saw James Copsey go close before
Ashley Maggs, across from the opposite wing, went over.
When Steve O'Brien was sin-binned for preventing quick ball, the
home team spurned another penalty chance in front of the posts and
took a scrum, but couldn't make the most of the resulting
possession, eventually conceding the ball when Myles Landick
executed a 'jackal' turnover Richie McCaw would have been proud
Being a man down seemed to inspire Jersey: firstly Felton came
agonisingly close, losing the ball as he crossed the line, and then
fine approach work by Jersey's centres led to a try for Copsey. The
full-back should arguably have passed to Ed Dawson outside him, but
managed to squeeze through a half-gap and wriggle over the
Although back to full strength, the visitors had to withstand
yet more pressure in the closing minutes of the half and lost
skipper Graham Bell with injured ribs just before the break.
The second half saw an early yellow card for Jon Brennan after
Jersey were warned for persistent infringement, and during his
absence Ed Stobart scored a fine try for Macc after slicing
diagonally across the field.
Just two points ahead, Jersey produced half an hour of
magnificent defence: solid tackles, several crucial ruck turnovers
and some reassuring clearance kicks from Broadfoot, who slotted in
at fly-half after replacing a groggy Maggs. Pacy winger Jack
Moorhouse did actually cross the line at one stage, but was
prevented from grounding the ball by O'Brien's strength.
Jersey remained a serious threat in attack and, having moved
upfield, another impressive handling move culminated in Ed Dawson
bursting over, with Mike Le Bourgeois landing a fine conversion to
alter the points tally from 4:1 to 5:0 in Jersey's favour.
"I thought our display merited something, but Jersey scored four
tries to two and deserved to win," said a philosophical Geoff
Wappett after the game. "They were sharper and took their
opportunities much better."
Macclesfield's Director of Rugby picked out the line-out skills
and influential presence of Brownrigg as Jersey's key man, while
Ben Harvey was delighted with another bonus point win and singled
out Felton's whole-hearted display, in his first game for 11 weeks,
as his star turn.
Jersey Cenkos/ Comprop squad: Myles Landick
(Dai Maddocks 51), Dave Felton, Jon Brennan (Ben Evans 45), Jim
Brownrigg, Nathan Hannay, Steve O'Brien, Guy Thompson (Kingsley
Lang 75), Graham Bell (Nick Trower 36), Dave McCormack, Mike Le
Bourgeois, Ed Dawson, Donovan Sanders, Dai Bishop, Ashley Maggs
(Ross Broadfoot 55), James Copsey.
Tries: Fowles 10, Stobart 51
Con: Eaton 51
Penalty: Eaton 13
Tries: Thompson 4, Maggs 15, Copsey 27, Dawson 77
Cons: Le Bourgeois 27, 77
Kickers: Eaton (Macclesfield) 2 from 3; Le
Bourgeois (Jersey) 2 from 4
Men-of-the-Match: Jim Brownrigg and Dave
by Tom Innes, reproduced by kind permission of Jersey
23 Mar 2023
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