Jersey Athletic 7 British Army 3111/03/2015
Jersey Athletic 7 British Army 31
The first-ever fixture between a Jersey XV and the British Army was an entertaining affair under floodlights at St Peter.
Watched by a crowd of around 500 people, the two sides fought out an even contest until the military men pulled away in the last three minutes, with two converted tries giving the scoreline a one-sided appearance.
Both squads were introduced to Jersey's Lieutenant-Governor,
General Sir John McColl, prior to kick-off. The amateur ranks of
Jersey Athletic were supplemented by six players from the
Championship squad, including four professionals, but the scratch
nature of the side was belied by some bold attacking and robust
defence throughout the team.
Early pressure from Jersey came to nothing, with an attacking lineout lost and a cross-kick to the corner just not falling for winger Brian Rennison. Athletic number 8 Nick Trower also announced himself with some trademark barrelling runs.
The opening score came when Tobias Hoskins burst through close to the posts, Joel Dudley adding a straightforward conversion.
After handling errors left the Army side unable to register on the scoreboard, fly-half James Dixon opted to kick a penalty goal to get his side moving. Shortly before the break the visitors declined a similar opportunity and attacked, although this was almost their downfall as Dudley intercepted and burst 50 metres before being hauled down in what was the final phase of the first half.
There was no let-up in intensity as the second half got underway, with plenty of attacking thrusts from both sides and some strong defence. The visitors were beginning to find their form however, and won several penalties. After one award the Jersey side seemed to stop playing, while an Army cross-kick allowed winger Tamatawale to score his team's first try.
Not only did Dixon convert with aplomb from the touchline, but within a minute he had a try of his own when the Army attacked from the restart and the ball passed through an estimated eight pairs of hands before the fly-half touched down.
Jersey could have countered through a Hoskins interception that ended with the centre being tackled just short, and there was also some some more good running from Rennison and replacements Tim Corson and Simon Johnson.
Fitness eventually came into play in the closing stages. As the referee signalled four minutes remaining, Jersey were still just 10 points down, but the visitors had gas in the tank: a rolling maul rumbled over the line, finished by Luke Robinson, and when it was deemed there was just enough time to restart another Army replacement, Darius Hamilton, also scored. Dixon's conversion completed a flawless haul of 16 points.
The friendly fixture, which included a good social element in the JRFC Clubhouse after the final whistle, was arranged at short notice after the cancellation of a game by an English club and an approach to JRFC, forms part of the Army side's preparations ahead of the annual Inter-Services Championship that takes place in April and May, and more specifically The Babcock Trophy against the Navy that forms part of that competition and will be played at Twickenham on May 9th.
The match was part of a 'Military double' this month for Jersey Athletic, who will also be contesting the traditional Wilkes Cup match against the Royal Artillery on Sunday March 22nd.
The two tight-head props, Jon Brennan and Chris Budgen
JERSEY: Jacob Carter, Stephen de ste Croix, Jon Brennan, John Allo, Kingsley Lang (capt), Graham Bell, Gary Graham, Nick Trower; Ryan Glynn, Joel Dudley, Jay Hosty, Ross Allan, Tobias Hoskins, Brian Rennison, Sam Fuller. Replacements: Andy Pitcher, David Day, Chris, Harry Chinn, Tim Corson, Kaisa Leota, Brendan O'Brien, Brian De Figuerado, Henry Frost, Sion Williams, Dominic Mayo, Bryn Edwards, Simon Johnson, Nathan Kemp
Referee: Bob Le Brocq
Try: Hoskins 24
Conversion: Dudley 24
Tries: Tamatawale 52, Dixon 54, Robinson 78, Hamilton 80
Conversions: Dixon 52, 54, 78, 80
Penalty: Dixon 34