/*full match report now added below*/
Plymouth Albion 15 Jersey 19
by Tom Innes
Jersey registered a superb away win, their first in the league
this season, to complete a double against Plymouth Albion. The home
side battled back gamely, but have now lost nine straight league
games after Jersey hung on for a deserved victory.
Both sides were relieved to learn of the score from Doncaster,
with defeat for the Knights leaving Albion 12 points clear of
danger, and Jersey five, with Moseley still in the mix ahead of
their Sunday encounter with Cornish Pirates. [STOP PRESS -
result - Pirates 17 Mose 14 so Mose have 26pts, seven clear of
Knights. Leeds go 4th, they got BP in beating Lon Scots 26-3].
Jersey began poorly and conceded three early penalties, one of
which was kicked. The Islanders battled back into the game with
some excellent tackling, driving maul play and some of the running
ability shown at London Scottish the week before.
Albion's Bevon Armitage was sin-binned after 25 minutes for
cynically preventing quick ball when Jersey pressed forward for a
try. A long injury break saw Jon Brennan forced from the field, but
soon afterwards Jersey took the lead when Guy Thompson scored from
a five-metre scrum. A second try looked likely before the break
thanks to more powerful scrummaging, but Plymouth somehow survived
without conceding the penalty try that looked inevitable.
The host side couldn't repel Jersey at the start of the second
half however, captain Nicky Griffiths crossing twice in six minutes
as his side looked increasingly threatening with ball in hand. The
game may have seemed in the bag, with a four-try bonus point up for
grabs, but the visitors played too open a game and this allowed
Albion, who made several tactical changes, to storm back into
contention with tries from Tom Cowan-Dickie and Tom Bowen.
Jersey had also lost Dave Felton following another lengthy
injury break, but the commitment remained to the end, and after
almost two hours of play - including stoppages - the whistle
This was a committed all-round team effort from Jersey, the
forwards had the measure of the opponents and the backs were
resolute in defence and looked potent in attack. Back-row men
Thompson and Charlie Walker-Blair were very prominent, while Max
Stelling and Griffiths looked especially dangerous going
Skipper Nicky Griffiths shows the passion of victory in the
SUNDAY INJURY UPDATE: Both Dave Felton and Jon Brennan
were discharged from hospital and will travel back to Jersey with
the squad. Both were admitted as a precautionary measure having
been stretchered from the field. The pair will be assessed on their
return to the Island, and the club are optimistic neither injury
will be as serious as they first appeared.
Jersey, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
Forwards: Sean McCarthy, Dave Felton, Jon Brennan, Nathan
Hannay, Dave Markham, Charlie Walker-Blair, Kingsley Lang, Guy
Thompson. Half-backs: Nicky Griffiths (capt), Michael Le
Bourgeois. Backs: Ed Dawson, Mark Foster, Max Stelling,
Donovan Sanders, Barry Davies.
Replacements: James Gethings for Brennan (27 mins),
Richard Barrington for McCarthy (47), Charlie Clare for Felton
(54), Fred Silcock for Lang (66). Not used: Rob Anderson,
Dave McCormack, Glenn Bryce.
Plymouth Albion: Jack Andrew, Jonathan Vickers,
Lloyd Fairbrother, Brett Beukeboom, Harrison Tovey, Sean-Michael
Stephen, Aaron Carpenter; Ruari Cushion (capt), Paul Roberts;
Rhodri McAtee, Bevon Armitage (YC 25), Keni Fisilau, Toby
Howley-Berridge, Declan Cusack. Replacements (all used):
Paul Rowley, Tom Cowan-Dickie, David Morton, Sam Matavesi, Herbie
Stupple, Lewis Warner, Tom Bowen.
Referee: Steve Lee
Tries: Cowan-Dickie 58, Bowen 70
Conversion: Cusack 70
Penalty: Roberts 10
Tries: Thompson 29, Griffiths 41, 47
Conversions: Le Bourgeois 41, 47
Full match report, reproduced with kind permission of
the Jersey Evening Post.
Plymouth Albion 15 Jersey 19
After 11 months without a league win away from home, and
surviving a heart-stopping comeback by Plymouth Albion, it was no
wonder Jersey's players celebrated with gusto.
Back in April last year, success at Coventry had sealed the
National One title and promotion. Victory at Brickfields on
Saturday may not have clinched anything, but it was an equally
impressive achievement - the hugs and smiles that followed were
evidence of that.
Satisfaction in the Island camp was based on the way the team
had taken the lessons from the previous defeat at London Scottish,
both positive and negative, and used them to great effect against
Plymouth. Discipline was much-improved, defence was tenacious and
the verve in attack was much in evidence - arguably too much in the
The improvement in Jersey's discipline took around 10 minutes to
kick in on a bright, dry day at Plymouth's spacious ground. By this
stage the visitors had conceded three penalties, allowing two shots
at goal for Paul Roberts, one of which he converted.
Albion were the dominant side for a brief period. Centres Bevon
Armitage and Keni Fisilau both went close, then Canadian
international number 8 Aaron Carpenter surged for the line only to
be felled by a superb tackle from Charlie Walker-Blair, losing the
ball as he tried to reach for the line. It wasn't to be
Walker-Blair's only contribution on a day of tireless endeavour in
the tackle and at the breakdown.
Gradually Jersey gained a foothold in the game, helped by
winning some penalties and a secure lineout effort. A potent
driving maul began to gain some big yards for the visiting pack,
and when the ball went wide Kingsley Lang knocked on when it
appeared certain he could otherwise have fed Max Stelling for a
Stelling, whose live-wire running could be increasingly
influential if pitches continue to dry out after the winter rains,
and Nicky Griffiths made further darts into Albion territory, and
when Ed Dawson moved into scrum-half in search of quick ball,
Albion's Bevon Armitage stepped in cynically to prevent him. A
yellow card was inevitable, and some felt there were claims for a
Three points were available for Jersey, but sensing an
opportunity, the choice was for a scrum. The first scrum folded,
leading to a 10-minute injury break as Jon Brennan was treated and
eventually carried off.
The delay had at least allowed replacement tight-head James
Gethings to get fully warmed up, and the Irishman played his part
in a solid scrum that enabled Guy Thompson to pick up and crash
over from close range.
Jersey went in search of another score to reflect the way the game
had swung. Stelling and Thompson inspired a foray deep into enemy
territory and when an Albion scrum was successfully wheeled, Jersey
gained possession and a chance to force another try.
What followed was very reminiscent of Jersey's home game against
Rotherham, where the visitors laid siege to the try-line, gained a
series of penalties but no penalty try. As the clock ticked past
the one-hour mark, Steve Lee (the same official) gave five
penalties against Albion, but no penalty try, and eventually
Thompson tried to repeat his earlier score, was penalised for
holding on, and the half-time whistle blew.
The home side's handling was fallible throughout, and when
possession was lost straight from the restart, Jersey's skipper
Nicky Griffiths sliced straight through for a try. Thompson's
ability to cut through opposition defenders was again in evidence,
and a superb run got him close to the line and set up Griffiths
just a few minutes later. Jersey were 16 points clear; surely
victory was a given, perhaps even with a bonus point garnish?
The visiting side's momentum was again halted by a lengthy
injury break, this time for David Felton, who was eventually
replaced by Charlie Clare.
The prospect of the extra point seemed to blur Jersey priorities.
With a dominant pack, the game needed to be closed down, not opened
up. Thompson had again played magnificently, but decisions such as
taking a quick throw and then attempting a back-hand flip pass to
men outside him, with the try-line beckoning, were
Albion had more to gain from a Barbarians-style game than
Jersey, and took advantage with counter-attacking tries from Tom
Cowan-Dickie and Tom Bowen, the latter following a superb move
stretching most of the length of the field.
It may have been after 5pm, but the injuries meant that the home
side still had around 10 minutes to press for victory. They gave it
a good crack too, but Jersey were not to be denied, the defence
held firm and a hugely significant result had been nailed
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