Preview and squad for Plymouth (H) 28.11.1427/11/2014
Jersey will play their first night match on home soil when Plymouth Albion visit St Peter on Friday night.
Floodlights were installed at St Peter in summer 2011 and have been used for late afternoon rugby - the previous latest was a 4pm B&I Cup tie against Leeds in January 2013 - but this is the first-ever evening kick-off at the ground, the club introducing a 'Friday Night Frenzy' initiative as an experimental departure from the traditional Saturday afternoon slot.
A new marquee will provide additional facilities for supporters ahead of the match and the home club are hoping for a bumper home crowd and a result that could propel the Islanders towards the knock-out stages of the British & Irish Cup. Visitors Plymouth Albion, making their second visit to Jersey this month, look to have little chance of repeating their quarter-final appearance of last season, but will be keen to build on the Championship draw against Yorkshire Carnegie last Friday, a result which broke a lengthy sequence of defeats.
Harvey Biljon has retained the vast majority of the Jersey squad who played impressively at Sixways last Friday and narrowly failed to achieve a major upset against high-flying Worcester.
The only change to the starting pack sees skipper Alex Rae make way in favour of Dave Markham in the second row. Switching to the backs, Aaron Penberthy is back at fly-half, replacing Jonny Bentley, while Tobias Hoskins and Grant Pointer come in at centre and wing in place of Lewis Robling and Drew Locke. David Bishop will skipper the side, while full-back Ross Jones-Davies will make his home debut.
Robling and Rae are among three additions to Jersey's bench, where Nicky Griffiths returns after a hand injury that has kept him sidelined since the Cup trip to play Leinster 'A' in Dublin six weeks ago.
After a very wet November so far, with rainfall 50 per cent beyond the monthly average, supporters will be pleased to see conditions drying up markedly on Thursday ahead of a match-day that Jersey Met forecast will be fair or fine with long sunny periods. At game time it's looking dry with a fresh breeze and temperatures midway between an afternoon maximum of 15c and an overnight low of 9c.
For a video presentation on the Jersey squad, see HERE
Jersey squad v Plymouth Albion - British & Irish Cup, Pool 5, Friday November 28th, St Peter - k-o 7.30pm
David Bishop (capt)
News from the Plymouth Camp
Confirmation of the Plymouth line-up is awaited. Two players who won't be involved: Coach James Shanahan, who reportedly announced his retirement from playing this week after a run-out for the Mickey Steele-Bodger XV in the annual pre-Varsity match against Cambridge University, the 37-year-old's 500th and final match; and hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie, sent off for a head-butt against Yorkshire Carnegie last and subsequently banned for five weeks, ruling him out until the opening match of 2015.
At Headingley Carnegie stadium last Friday, Plymouth Albion
snapped a run of 17 consecutive defeats in competitive matches, but
they are still yet to win a match since the victory over Bedford on
March 8th, as hosts Yorkshire Carnegie battled back to draw the
Championship game 19-all.
Carnegie had an 11-6 half-time lead, but a try by Sam Simmonds and the boot of Lawrence Rayner helped Albion to a 11-19 lead before the late-show by Yorkshire. The equalising try by Christian Georgiou came against 12 men, with Albion having one player injured, another in the sin-bin and Tom Cowan-Dickie banished after his red card. Harry Leonard could have snatched a win for Carnegie, but failed to convert from the touchline.
To say Plymouth were disappointed with their start to 2014/14 would be an understatement; James Shanahan's side come into the game at St Peter sitting bottom of the Championship table, the two points gained last weekend having doubled their season's league tally to four.
The opening Championship match was at newly promoted Doncaster Knights, a game Albion lost 25-6. The first home game of the season resulted in a 17-24 loss to Nottingham, which was particularly disappointing for the Brickfields' faithful as Albion led 10-0 after ten minutes. Plymouth put in a much-improved performance away at Rotherham and pushed the Titans all the way before going down 30-25.
The second home match of the season resulted in another defeat this time at the hands of Bedford Blues who left Brickfields with the full five points after a 22-31 success. The final act of the first phase of league action took place at the Athletic Ground in Richmond in front of Sky's cameras - Albion were in contention at half-time, trailing London Scottish by 21-16, but conceded 43 unanswered points after the break.
Things got little better in the British & Irish Cup, which resulted in three more defeats during the opening rounds in pool 5.
Albion did get two bonus points when they were beaten at home 24-31 by holders Leinster 'A' and they then returned empty-handed from Wales after losing 29-16 to the 'Carmarthen Scarlets'. Then Jersey maintained their 100 per cent record at Brickfields thanks to a 16-22 victory in spite of being outscored by two tries (Marc Koteczky and Rob Langley) to one (Tobias Hoskins). The result was in doubt until the very end, with Koteczky missing a straightforward penalty that would have tied the scores at 19-apiece, after which Aaron Penberthy dropped a goal to complete the scoring. The match report is HERE
Three weekends ago Plymouth were here for a Championship match, a tight encounter in adverse weather conditions that was in doubt until the last 10 minutes, at which stage Jersey lead 6-0, a margin stretched to 19-0 by Ryan Hodson's try and eight points from the boot of Aaron Penberthy. The match report is HERE
With - probably - just pride to play for in the B&I, having secured a quarter-final place last season, Albion follow their trip to the largest Channel Island today with a home game against Carmarthen next weekend, followed by the tough prospect of holders Leinster 'A' in Dublin.
Already Albion are looking towards their next league match, the Boxing Day Derby against south-west rivals Cornish Pirates. The 'clotted cream derby' matches are no tea parties, and the men from Devon will be especially keen to get one over the Pirates who are currently 10 points ahead in the Championship table.
Other rugby this weekend
The preview to round 4 of the B&I is HERE - there are 10 matches this weekend.
On Saturday Jersey Athletic have their third successive home game, when Worthing are the visitors for a 12noon kick-off. The match will be followed by lunch in the Clubhouse and the chance to watch the England v Australia international.
Enjoy your weekend's rugby!