The Reds racked up an eighth consecutive win to start the season, following seven league victories on the spin with a solid, six-try display in atrocious conditions at Lady Bay.
Hosts Nottingham may have amassed an average of more than 30 points per game during the opening block of Championship fixtures, but they had little joy against their visitors from Jersey.
A fast start saw the visitors clock up two tries within 10 minutes. A neat offload to Dan Barnes set up the first and then an overlap and good hands set up Ryan Hutler for number two.
The Archers hit back quickly after Barnes was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle, kicking a penalty to the corner and working a textbook catch-and-drive (and try, hooker Jack Dickinson the scorer).
Brendan Owen, recalled to the starting XV, set up the next Jersey try with an elusive, pacy run and offloaded to Russell Bennett, who stretched over for his first try for the Reds.
Another high tackle brought a second yellow card, this time for Green-and-Whites wing Harry Graham, and the Reds pushed for their bonus point try. An attempt to maul over failed, then another surge was ruled ‘held up’, but just beyond the half-hour the score came as a rolling maul clicked and Eoghan Clarke finished.
The visiting eight had the upper hand, particularly at scrum-time with statement performances from props Greg McGrath and Adam Nicol, and this factor was at the heart of the final score of the first half, a penalty try that also saw Dickinson sin-binned.
The conditions were even wetter during the early stages of the second half, with the game losing some shape. Hegemony at the scrum was still a factor and this enabled Max Argyle to finish a pushover thanks to a neat pick-up and dive for the line.
Both sides emptying their benches, but the replacements were unable to lift the tempo. The Archers would not lie down however and claimed the consolation of the only scores of the final quarter: Jacob Wright’s try and the extra points courtesy of James Peachey.
With Ealing Trailfinders winning 64-10 against Hartpury, the Championship’s top two will continue trying to set the pace in the cup next Saturday, when Ealing travel to Nottingham and the Reds host Hartpury at Stade Santander International (k-o 2pm).
Picture by Simon Hall
NOTTINGHAM: Jordan Olowofela; Harry Graham (YC 23), Jacob Cusick, Javiah Pohe, James Peachey; Morgan Bunting, Michael Stronge; Aniseko Sio, Jack Dickinson (YC 39), Ben Betts, Ross Bundy, Tom Manz, Jacob Wright, Carl Kirwan, Scott Hall (capt).
Replacements (all used): Toby Williams, Xavier Valentine, Callum Allen, Lewis Barrett, Josh Goodwin, Charlie Thacker, Joe Browning.
JERSEY REDS: Brendan Owen; Ryan Hutler, Charlie Powell, Dan Barnes (YC 12), Tomi Lewis (Will Brown 57); Russell Bennett (James Mitchell 61), Jonny Law (James Elliott 54). Greg McGrath (Huw Owen 63), Eoghan Clarke (TJ Harris 57), Adam Nicol (Monty Weatherby 63), Hamish Bain, Sean O’Connor, James Dun (Josh Gray 24), Lewis Wynne (capt) (Tom Everard 67), Max Argyle.
REFEREE: Hamish Grant. Assistants: Gregg Dawson, Andrew Ashwell.
Half Time: 5-31
Tries: Dickinson 13, Wright 71
Conversion: Peachey 71
Tries: Barnes 3, Hutler 8, Bennett 15, Clarke 32, Penalty Try 39, Argyle 54
Conversions: Bennett 3, 32, 54
02 Dec 2022
Rivalry between two clubs enters its third decade