Jersey 13 Rotherham Titans
Jersey held out for a vital win as an attritional match
threatened to spill over in the closing minutes.
Visitors Rotherham battled back and looked like they might
snatch a winning score at the death, but their final attack was
halted and Jersey held on for four crucial league points.
Director of Rugby Ben Harvey hailed the character, self-belief
and organisation of his team.
"We were taking on a really good side and I knew they'd be a
tough proposition on a heavy pitch, but we worked really hard and
dug deep to get the win," he said.
Heavy overnight rain on an already saturated surface meant the
main arena at St Peter was ruled unplayable, with the game switched
to an adjacent pitch that, while still boggy in parts, was in
significantly better condition.
Jersey's Mike Le Bourgeois and Titans' skipper Garry Law traded
penalties early in the first half, which finished with an
extraordinary series of scrums close to Rotherham's line. Jersey
conceded five penalties, including a yellow card for prop Jon
Brennan, and there were numerous re-sets, but not the penalty try
the visitors thought they deserved. The siege was eventually
cleared and the whistle blew for half time.
Guy Thompson was the most influential player on the pitch at the
start of the second half - first Jersey's number 8 tore forward
from the kick-off to give his team a platform, and then he was on
hand to finish a wave of attacks stemming from a quick free-kick.
The conversion and a subsequent penalty by Le Bourgeois put the
Islanders 13-3 clear.
Charlie Mulchrone's try from a textbook lineout move helped
narrow the deficit, although Jersey claimed the scrum-half had
failed to ground the ball properly. Titans turned up the pressure
as the match boiled towards a climax, but encountered, as they had
all afternoon, a fantastically committed home defence. Jersey's
Ashley Maggs was sin-binned as an attempted interception became a
With just a minute left the visitors launched another attack
deep into Jersey territory, but the referee then called play back
following a prolonged fight on half-way. Jersey lock Dave Markham
and opposite number Dan Sanderson earned yellow cards, and
crucially play was called back to half-way, with full-time
signalled soon afterwards.
Rotherham Head Coach Alex Codling, although clearly disappointed
by the referee's decisions at the end of both halves, was reluctant
to comment on the official's display after the final whistle.
Jersey, sponsored by Locate
Jersey and jersey.com: Davies, Maggs, Bishop (capt), Cooper
(Broadfoot 69), Dawson, Le Bourgeois, Griffiths; McCarthy
(Barrington 69), Felton (Clare 52), Brennan (Gethings 36-46),
Hannay, Markham, Lang (Nihill 74), Buckle, Thompson. Replacements not used: Anderson,
Rotherham: Mulchrone F,
Doneghan, Blackett, Nonu (McKinney 65), Sheridan, Law (capt),
Mulchrone C; Gadd (Kilbane 73), Stagg, Denman (Davies 59), Thomas,
Sanderson, Malaafi, Ellyatt (Freeman 52), Rieder (Pitman 46). Replacements not used: Hannan,
Man-of-the-match as chosen by match
sponsor Barclays: Guy Thompson (Jersey)
Conversion: Le Bourgeois
Penalties: Le Bourgeois 15,
Try: Mulchrone C
Conversion: Law 68
Penalty: Law 19
Report by Tom Innes
18 May 2023
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