Having played five Friday evening matches in two seasons since
attaining Championship status, Jersey now face three consecutive
Friday nights under lights. The first two are among the toughest
away trips of the season, London Scottish and Worcester; and then
it's the first-ever night match at St Peter, in the B&I against
This week's trip to the Athletic Ground in Richmond sees the
Islanders take on a side who have become an established force in
the Championship two months into their fourth season at this level.
The Exiles needed a last-day escape in 2012 but have subsequently
finished eighth and fifth, and this season have set their sights on
a play-off berth.
Top-four ambitions looked very attainable during the opening phase
of league action, with four wins and a defeat at Bristol by 42-17,
although the form curve dipped once the British & Irish Cup
started, with three successive defeats against Pontypridd, Bristol
(again) and Connacht. This was followed by a narrow 16-9 defeat to
Moseley on a water-logged pitch at Billesley Common, a game that
culminated in acrimony as the Scots failed to convert a late
attacking line-out and scuffles broke out at the final whistle,
prompting skipper Mark Bright and a small number of Exiles' players
to leave the arena prior to the usual formalities of handshakes,
the players' tunnel and three cheers.
Jersey won the first encounter between the sides back in October
2012, with tries from James Copsey and Guy Thompson underpinning a
20-17 win, but have since suffered three defeats, including the
penultimate game of last season, a 17-25 reverse at St Peter on
Easter Saturday which saw Jersey slip to the bottom of the
Championship table prior to the final day escape at Bedford.
News from the Jersey Camp
STOP PRESS - Friday 0840
Illness to two players forced late changes to Jersey's squad for
tonight's match against London Scottish.
Both fly-half Aaron Penberthy and winger Mark McCrea were unwell
and did not travel with their team-mates on the 9.15am flight to
Jonny Bentley returns from the bench to the starting XV at
fly-half, Grant Pointer switches from full-back to wing, and Jack
Burroughs comes into the side at full-back. Bentley's place among
the replacements is taken by Ed Dawson.
Amendments below in bold.
Alex Rae (capt)
Any previous? (Click for links to match
London Scottish - a potted history
Formed: London Scottish FC was formed in a pub, namely
Mackay's Tavern in the City of London on April 10th 1878.
Back in the day: The first season featured 15 matches,
and three of the opposing clubs are still in existence - Wasps,
Twickenham and Guy's Hospital.
Famous sons: the club has fielded 220 Scottish
internationals and the same number of Lions captains as Leicester
(four - Bill MacLagan in the 1880s, David Bedell-Sivright in
1903/4, Mike Campbell-Lamerton in 1966 and Gavin Hastings in 1993).
Other Scottish internationals worthy of mention include a
proliferation of back-row men - Mike Biggar, Rob Wainwright, Derek
White and Ian Smith - as well as Paul Burnell, Alastair McHarg,
Allan Lawson and Kenny Logan.
Jersey connections: actually not that many, but former
Jersey Chairman Cliff Chipperfield played for the Exiles while a
student in London in the 1970s, and this summer flanker Fred
Silcock signed for Scottish after two seasons with Jersey. Sadly
Fred couldn't shake off a serious knee injury and announced his
retirement from the game earlier this month.
League history: The club began the league era at level
two, and by 1998 were a fully-professional unit playing in the
Premiership. However this was also the season that the professional
club went into administration, necessitating a year out while the
original club was reformed and placed into Herts/ Middlesex
Division One (level nine) in 2000. Four successive promotions
kick-started the revival, and by going up three more levels the
Exiles regained their original status as when the leagues began 27
Rugby this weekend
For the second week running half of the Championship programme is
played on Friday night: the other games see Nottingham host Bristol
while Bedford take on Yorkshire Carnegie at Goldington Road. The
next day the Titans take on the Pirates, the Knights host Mose and
Albion tackle the Warriors.
See HERE for the full
preview to round 7
There are two Jersey v London Scottish matches this weekend, with
the Highlanders travelling to the Island to take on the Athletic at
St Peter. Kick-off is at 12noon, setting up the prospect of a
'Mikey-Rayer', starting with lunch in the Clubhouse while watching
England v South Africa on the big screens (k-o 2.30pm). There's
just enough time to confirm your lunch spot with Sean Dunne.
While I try to keep my inner statto under wraps, occasionally the
wee blighter breaks free. He'd like to point out that:
* the 0-6 scoreline in last Friday's Yorkshire derby was the
lowest-ever score in our league since the Championship was formed
in 2009, 'beating' Coventry 6 Moseley 3 in April 2010
* until Aaron Penberthy popped one over at Brickfields last month,
Jersey hadn't scored a drop-goal since Mike Le Booj struck in the
13-54 win at Cambridge in November 2012
* Saturday's 19-0 win over Plymouth was Jersey's biggest winning
margin at home in 25 Championship matches
* the shut-out at St Peter last weekend was the first time Jersey
have kept a clean-sheet in a competitive match since the tail-end
of the 2011/12 season, when Tynedale were beaten 0-64 and
Macclesfield defeated 39-0 in the space of a couple of weeks
* hopes that the Championship would break through the 20,000
barrier last weekend for total attendance at a set of six games -
this would have been the first time since Xmas 2012 - were
scuppered by the weather, with 19,441 braving the conditions
That's enough stats... so enjoy your weekend's rugby!
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.