Jersey Athletic v LQ match report19/02/2013
Jersey Athletic 40 LQ Lydian Lions 5
The semi-final of the Doug Tranter Cup was played in blazing sunshine at JRFC, writes James Milner. The dry conditions suited holders Jersey Athletic's preferred wide game over a powerful LQ pack and this was eventually reflected in the scoreline.
Les Quennevais had the better of the opening exchanges with powerful running from captain Dan Lezala in the centres and evergreen Richard Vetier showing up some weak Jersey tackling. The westerners found themselves camped on the Jersey line following a sequence of penalties and seemed certain to score when prop Chris Pople took the ball from a set play five metres out. His progress was halted by a brave challenge from opposite number Luke Trotter, the Jersey man subsequently leaving the field injured. This forced captain Ian Henderson to join the dark artistes of the front row for the remainder of the fixture. Les Q were unable to capitalise however and the A's cleared their lines; soon afterwards a period of pressure saw Jim Brimelow crash over the line for the first score of the afternoon.
The game continued in this end-to-end fashion, firstly with a deserved score for eventual man-of-the-match Jack Burroughs after clever interlinking play with Henry Frost when counterattacking from a loose kick. Les Q then responded in kind with a thunderous drive from their forwards splitting the Jersey pack apart and registering their first points of the afternoon. This was to prove their final contribution to the score sheet as Athletic increased the pace of the game to continually feed their dangerous wide men. On form Henry Frost again showed his excellent form to cross the line twice before Burroughs joined him again on the score sheet.
Excellent kicking from fly-half Brad Stratford, winning his first start for the A's, punished any Les Q indiscretions and kept them pinned back in their own half. The youngster showed great maturity throughout the afternoon and benefitted from playing alongside his brother Luke, who was a constant thorn in the side of the opposition from his position at openside flanker.
Les Q defended bravely and would certainly have conceded more points were it not for the contribution of Wayne Boschat, playing at fly half, who won several key turnovers when the A's were threatening the visitors' line.
It was a satisfactory performance for Athletic who will now prepare for their fixture against Richmond Vikings in two weeks, and the Doug Tranter final against United Banks, who had a semi-final bye. Meanwhile Les Q turn their attention to the Hampshire Cup match against Portsmouth RFC this weekend.
Jersey Athletic v Blackheath - 2pm Saturday 9th Feb @
Score: Jersey 12 - 16 Blackheath
Due to the ongoing inclement weather affecting local sports pitches, Jersey Athletic convened at Les Quennevais to play only their second game in three months, writes James Milner.
The opponents were a highly-regarded Blackheath 2nd XV who currently top their league in the UK. The A's were able to field a strong team featuring Myles Landick, in his first game back from injury, Graham Bell and the Irish duo of Brendan O'Brien and Eoghan Nihill, who were not involved in the 1st XV visit to Bedford.
The lack of match practice was evident throughout the Jersey side and it took them time to grow into the game. Blackheath were awarded numerous penalties for indiscipline and eased their way to a 6 - 0 lead by half-time which probably flattered the A's, who were lucky to still be in touch, even though Landick crossed the line at one point only to be adjudged 'held up'.
Following the break, Athletic looked like a rejuvenated outfit and were able to exert some dominance at the set piece, leading to Blackheath being pinned in their 22 for extended periods. Spurred on by the quality of the opposition, the players grew in stature and powerful running by Bell, Tim Corson and Richard Stather started to find some holes in a creaking defence. Wave after wave of attack eventually saw Jamie Allan put Bell in under the posts and give the crowd something to cheer about.
A second score seemed inevitable after another Jersey line-break saw youngster Jack Burroughs stopped on the try line, and then Stather held up shortly afterwards. The visitors struggled to clear their lines and sure enough Landick crossed the whitewash again, and this time was not denied by the referee: 12 - 6 to Athletic.
Blackheath responded with a break of their own and only excellent cover defence stopped a score by the visitors' full back. A penalty was awarded though, and the Londoners pegged Jersey back to within three points.
With time ticking away and Jersey in the ascendancy, the home side pushed for the score that would consolidate their lead. Unfortunately in the wet conditions a loose ball squirted out of contact and Blackheath were able to feed their lightning quick winger. A deft chip and chase ensued, eluding Burroughs at full back and leaving the winger to score under the posts to hand Blackheath the victory.
A disappointing end for the local side, who felt they had the
ability to win, but will have to wait for the return fixture to
exact any revenge.