Jersey 44 Stourbridge 7
Jersey shrugged off an 11th hour change of pitch and an early
Stourbridge try to register a 16th straight win and move 10 points
clear of their frost-bound rivals.
Centre partners Donovan Sanders and James Copsey were the
architects of the victory, causing constant problems to the Stour
defence and claiming a brace of tries each.
With temperatures falling further than forecast on the eve of
the game, a shaded area on the main arena remained frozen; this
left no option but to transfer to a neighbouring pitch at short
"We wanted to play on our front pitch, but it wasn't possible,
and it was difficult to adapt," said Jersey's Director of Rugby Ben
Harvey. "But we had great support in our 'Plan B' venue and the
crowd really motivated the team."
Poor starters in recent games, Stour stunned the home side with
a series of forward drives that culminated in a long pass by
fly-half Chris Reekes which gave Jamie Hearn the chance to speed
over in the corner. The winger added a superb touchline conversion
to ice the cake.
The quick response Jersey needed came through a Ross Broadfoot
penalty, and the fly-half then sparked a pacy attack which ended
with Donovan Sanders feeding James Copsey for a try.
The tight scoreline was broken open in the build-up to half-time
when Jersey registered two more tries, firstly with another Copsey
effort from Sanders' assist, and then the centres swapping roles
for Sanders to cross.
After half-time huddles on the pitch it was the visitors who
started more strongly, testing Jersey with a prolonged series of
drives that yielded a yellow card for home captain Graham Bell but
eventually no points.
After withstanding great pressure Jersey rallied and scored
three more tries in the final 15 minutes, helped by two visits to
the sin-bin by visiting players. Number 8 Nick Trower finished off
a massive shunt from a close-range scrummage, Sanders claimed a
solo effort and finally Glenn Bryce crossed in added time.
Visiting Director of Rugby Neil Mitchell admitted his team had
little answer as Jersey went through the gears.
"We were outgunned, outnumbered and at times outpaced by a
really well-drilled team," he said. "They've won 16 straight games
for a reason and their power was too much for us in the end."
Jersey: Bryce, Copsey, Maggs (Fuller 67),
Sanders, Dawson, Broadfoot, O'Brien (McCormack 49), Landick
(Gethings 62), Felton (Clyde-Smith 60), Evans, Hannay (Voss 68),
Brownrigg, Bell (capt), Lang, Trower.
Stourbridge: Williams, Bressington, Jarvis,
Barkley (Robinson 40), Hearn, Reekes, Richardson (White 68), Sturdy
(Hill 49), Wordley (Page 49), Lawrence (Sturdy 67), Hurrell, Hughes
(capt), Garner, Rovira, Hall (Rodley 40).
Referee: Tom Davis
Stats Box (home team first)
Pens conceded 7-9
LO Won 6-8
LO Lost 1-2
Scrums won 6-6
Scrums lost 1-2
Sin bins 1-2
Star Man: Donovan Sanders (Jersey)
Tries: Copsey 14, 30, Sanders 38, 72, Trower 65, Bryce 76
Conversions: Broadfoot 30, 38, 72, 76
Penalties: Broadfoot 7, 26
Try: Hearn 5
Conversion: Hearn 5
18 May 2023
DoR pays tribute to leaving players after title-winning season