The Reds’ final road-trip of the 2018/19 season finished in disappointment as a second half fightback wasn’t quite enough to overhaul Nottingham.
The hosts scored two tries in the first half through wingers Jack Spittle and David Williams, with Canadian international fly-half Shane O’Leary adding a conversion and three penalties. The Reds conceded 10 points during the absence of centre Apakuki Ma’afu, controversially yellow-carded after a 19th-minute tackle was deemed unacceptable by the officials.
The visitors had failed to fire for most of the first period, with just a Brett Herron penalty to show until a mauled try, finished by Kyle Hatherell, was registered just before the break.
O’Leary slotted an early penalty after the break to increase his side’s 18-8 interval lead by three, but the visitors were played with far greater purpose. Dominance at scrum-time, especially after Samoan prop Aniseki Sio went off for a head injury assessment, led to space out side and tries by Leroy Van Dam and Ma’afu cut the deficit to just a point, Herron having added one conversion but missed the second from a wide angle.
Sio’s return to bolster the front row was a significant factor in the closing stages as the home team rolled up their sleeves and were able to hold on for a narrow win, O’Leary icing the cake with a late penalty.
The Jersey focus now switches to the final game of the Championship season, with a large contingent from Coventry expected at Saturday’s match at Stade Santander International. The league game will kick off at 3pm, preceded by a clash between the second teams at 12noon. Advance tickets available HERE
Aniseki Sio, Luke Cole, Oisin Heffernan, Tom Holmes (capt), Llewellyn Jones, Shane Buckley, Will Owen, Jordan Coghlan; Murray McConnell, Shane O’Leary; David Williams, Luke Peters, Billy Robinson, Jack Spittle; Sean Scanlon.
Replacements: Ben Brownlie (for Cole, 50 mins), Jamie Jack (Sio 56-65), Darryl Veenendaal (McConnell 58), Seb Cecil (Holmes 58). Not used: George Cox, Scott Hall, Harry Graham
Jersey Reds (1-15)
Harry Morley, Jack Macfarlane, Leeroy Atalifo, Jerry Sexton (capt), Rory Bartle, Jake Upfield, Conor Joyce, Kyle Hatherell; Will Homer, Brett Herron; Jason Worrall, George Eastwell, Apakuki Ma’afu (YC 19), James Newey; Leroy Van Dam.
Replacements: Janco Venter (for Joyce, 47 mins), Nick Selway (Macfarlane 47), Sam Rodman (Atalifo 72), Jack Stapley (Van Dam 79). Not used: Zei Alexis, Charlie Beckett, Liam Howley
REFEREE: Ian Tempest. Assistants: Simon Adams, Simon Park
Half Time: 18-8
Tries: Spittle 10, Williams 22
Conversion: O’Leary 22
Penalties: O’Leary 15, 27, 51, 78
Tries: Hatherell 35, Van Dam 58, Ma’afu 66
Conversion: Herron 58
Penalty: Herron 16