Any more of this, and Jersey v Nottingham will become known as
the Meteorological Derby, with the two sides led out onto the pitch
by celebrity weather presenters Siân Lloyd and Michael Fish.
The Green & Whites came to Jersey twice last season, with
torrential rain dominating the first visit, and deep snow
threatening the second, and now another wet build-up left the hosts
obliged to arrange a pitch inspection, in spite of extensive work
to improve the condition of the main pitch at St Peter. Stop
press - inspection passed, see HERE
Nottingham must wonder what they've done to upset the fixture
computer after landing a February slot to visit the Channel Island
for two seasons running.
Jersey, 11th in the Championship table, go into the match 10
points behind 10th-placed Nottingham, and seeking to complete the
double over the Midlands side after a nail-biting 19-22 win at
Meadow Lane in October. A Jersey win would bring Nottingham closer
to the battle to avoid relegation, whereas Martin Haag's men could
put significant daylight between themselves and the
chasing pack with a victory of their own.
The home side will be desperate to get the game on, keen to get a
first league victory for new Head Coach Harvey Biljon, and to right
the ship after a 54-14 thumping last weekend' albeit against a
Bristol team who produced one of their best displays of the season.
As Rotherham had done the week before at St Peter - annoying when
you keep bringing out the best in your opponents.
Sunday's defeat was Jersey's worst for 13 years, dating back to
February 7th 2001 when Gosport & Fareham executed an 83-13
massacre over the Islanders in London Three South-West.
News from the Jersey camp
Jersey supporters will be pleased to see a largely settled side
take the field, although this doesn't mean the Islanders are free
of injury troubles. All but one of the 22 players who did
battle with Bristol last weekend will be on duty, with three
players promoted from the bench to the starting line-up.
A single change in the backs from Sunday's defeat at the
Memorial Stadium sees Jimmy Williams return in place of Nicky
Griffiths, while their are three alterations to the starting pack.
James Voss gets an opportunity in place of Dave Markham in the
second row, and Latu Makaafi returns to the back row alongside
skipper Alex Rae and Joe Buckle after Tom Brown failed a fitness
The new addition to the squad is Joel Dudley, who will be along
the bench alongside Griffiths, Markham, David Bishop, David Felton
and Nick Selway. The final replacement is Sam Lockwood, who is set
to make his home debut after signing on loan from Leeds last
Jersey squad v Nottingham (H) Saturday February 8th 2014, k-o
Alex Rae (capt)
Nottingham in 2013/14
It was a tricky summer at Meadow Lane. It was announced towards
the end of last season that Nottingham were seeking new financial
backing, and although the club finished the season by claiming a
play-off spot, subsequently losing to Bedford at the semi-final
stage, change was just around the corner.
A number of high profile players left, including James Arlidge,
Matt Parr, Nic Rouse, Alex Lewington, Joe Duffy and Championship
Player of the Year Tim Streather.
There were recruits as well, although the squad was reduced to an
official size, according to the Green-and-Whites' website, of just
two dozen (it has since increased to approximately 28). One player
no longer involved is the stalwart David Jackson, who first wore a
Nottingham shirt aged six but was recently forced to retire on
medical grounds at the age of 31 after 316 appearances and 926
The new faces were the aforementioned George David Campese Ma'afu
(yes, really!), hooker Jon Vickers from Plymouth, Irish lock Neilus
Keogh (he was signed from Lazio in Italy, where he played alongside
Jersey's David Young) and 6ft 4in Welsh fly-half Matt Jarvis (he
came from Connacht in Ireland, where he played alongside Jersey's
The season started with an excellent 24-16 win over Leeds in the
double-header at Doncaster, with tries from Montagu and Hough,
followed by disappointment at Meadow Lane. Not only did the home
team slip out of contention against London Welsh, losing 19-46, but
only 1,164 supporters turned up. Styles and Lee-Everton were the
At the end of September Notts were level with London Scottish at
half-time at the RAG, and edged ahead early in the second period,
but then faded once again to finish 27-6 adrift.
After Jersey's visit, Notts went three games unbeaten at home,
beating Bedford and Plymouth narrowly and drawing with the Pirates,
but succumbed to defeats on the road at Bristol, Moseley and
The festive fixture on the last Saturday of December saw revenge
for Leeds, 30-19 winners at Headingley, but 2014 started badly with
a 27-28 home defeat by Ealing. The past fornight has seen two tense
battles played in poor weather - a 14-9 defeat at Goldington Road
against Bedford and then a gritty 15-3 home win over London
Scottish last Friday, with five penalties from Matt Jarvis and an
excellent defensive effort by tout-le-monde.
There wasn't much to write home about in this season's B&I
Cup, which included home-and-away defeats by both Plymouth and
Munster 'A', both of whom made the quarter-finals. But the Green
& Whites did do the double over Stirling County, and England
star Mathew Tait turned out on loan from Leicester in one of the
games as part of his comeback from injury.
In the fourth round of this season's Championship, Jersey
travelled to Meadow Lane in early October 2013.
The first half was tight, Tom Chapman scoring the only try for the
hosts and helping his side to a 13-9 lead at the break.
Jersey survived a yellow card for Joe Buckle early in the second
half, keeping the margin at four points (16-12) until Mark McCrea
burst through for a try near the posts. This converted try was
enough to secure the win, with each side scoring one further
penalty, and the Green & Whites turning down two kickable
penalties to force a draw and going boldly but unsuccessfully for a
winning try. See HERE for the full
Nottingham's first visit to Jersey in February
2013 did not feature any rugby: after weeks of torrential
rain, the match was called off at short notice due to a pitch ruled
unfit by the referee. Enough was said and written about these
events at the time.
Four weeks later (March 2013), snow was the
challenge, and the picture at the start of the week wasn't
promising (see below).
But the pitch was cleared, the show did go on, and Jersey could
well have won it had they cashed in during a dominant first half to
the tune of more than seven points. After one penalty try was
registered, the home team decided against pressing for another even
with two Notts' players in the bin.
The visitors rallied in the second half and two Brent Wilson tries
helped then achieve a 13-20 win and restrict Jersey to a bonus
point. The report's HERE
In the October 2012 clash at Meadow Lane, Jersey
were hit hard with 17 points conceded in the first five minutes.
Savage and Shaw claimed tries and James Arlidge added a penalty and
The visitors recovered slightly to the extent that they were just
23-13 down at the break, Michael Le Bourgeois claiming all his
side's points with a try, conversion and two penalties.
Jersey needed to score first after the break but instead it was a
Green-and-White procession, with a Duffey try and two more Arlidge
penalties. Ben Evans, in what was to be his last appearance as a
Jersey player, was yellow-carded for repeated infringement and when
replacement James Gethings had no better fortunes, a penalty try
was given, before Rhys Crane rounded off the afternoon with his
side's fifth try. The report is HERE
History of Nottingham RFC
The club was formed in 1877 by former Rugby School pupil Alick
Birkin, who returned to his home city and recruited some friends to
play the game he'd enjoyed at the school where William Webb Ellis
invented it some 50 years previously.
The Birkin family were involved in Nottingham rugby until the mid
1950s, including the donation of land at Ireland Avenue, Beeston,
in 1904 by Alick's brother Leslie - this was the club's home for
more than a century until it was sold in 2006.
Nottingham have spent most of the 26 (and a half) seasons of the
league era at level two, now the RFU Championship - the club first
entered this league in the early 90s, and though relegated in
1996/97 they were back after being runners-up at level three in
Since their return, the club finished third in 2007/08, but they
failed to make an impact in the promotion play-offs in the next
three seasons, with a trio of identical finishes - fifth in the
regular season, third in their promotion pool. Last season, with
the play-off stakes halved to a field of four, Notts pipped Bedford
to second place but were then defeated over two legs by the Blues
in the play-offs. Bedford won the first leg 26-17 at home and a
dominant first half in the return at Meadow Lane ended the contest,
albeit that Notts fought back to 21-23 on the night and an 11-point
The club is owned by Meadow Lane plc, which also owns Notts County
FC, and have played at Meadow Lane since 2006.
VH Cartwright was Nottingham's first England player, winning 14
caps in the early 1900s and subsequently becoming President of the
The 1980s was a golden era, with Nottingham runners-up in the
National Merit Table in 1985/86 and having no less than five
England caps during the decade: Gareth Rees, Rob Andrew, Brian
Moore, Chris 'Swing Low' Oti and Simon Hodgkinson, as well as the
Scotland lock Chris Gray (Moore and Oti are pictured below with
team-mates Will Carling and Simon Halliday).
Recent internationals include James Arlidge, the New Zealand
fly-half who represented Japan 32 times, the US full-back Chris
Wyles and the New Zealand lock Ali Williams, who played a month of
rugby with the Green-and-Whites as part of a successful return from
injury in early 2011. That's successful as in he won the World Cup
10 months later...
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v
Notts through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey on Friday from 5.30pm, and live
commentary on Sunday afternoon (available online and on your
• Preview in Friday's JEP, and in Saturday's Inside
Centre spread and full match coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
• Match preview on Channel 103 on Saturday afternoon
• Reports and match action on Channel TV online and on Monday
evening at 6.15pm; Channel also have Harvey Biljon in the studio on
Friday at around 6.10pm; result and possible report on BBC Channel
Islands on Monday evening at 6.30pm
The Greene King IPA Championship this
I love a good stat, me, and this is certainly striking: the last
three encounters between Moseley and the Pirates at Billesley
Common have been draws, with a cumulative tally of 62-62.
Plymouth Albion will travel to Richmond to play London Scots
hoping to show that the 36-15 win over the Welsh Exiles last
weekend - their first home win of the season in the league - was no
flash in the pan. Bristol will seek to continue their free-scoring
form at Bedford, who conceded 50 points last weekend. The team that
scored that half-century, Leeds, travel to play Ealing. On Sunday
leaders Welsh play the team snapping at their heels, the Rotherham
(or should that be North Nottinghamshire?!) Titans.
Friday February 7
Moseley v Cornish Pirates, 19:30
Saturday February 8
London Scottish v Plymouth Albion, 14:30
Bedford Blues v Bristol Rugby, 15:00
Ealing Trailfinders v Leeds Carnegie, 15:00
Sunday February 9
London Welsh v Rotherham Titans, 14:30
The weather looks set to put paid to most if not all local rugby.
Confirmation of the Les Quennevais v St Jacques game set for 12noon
on Saturday is awaited. Two Jersey sides are away - the United
Banks Ladies travel to Havant on Saturday, while Jersey Athletic
have a potentially pivotal Zoo Shield clash against Richmond
Vikings, although this game is subject to a 1pm pitch inspection on
Friday, 24 hours before the scheduled KO.
Enjoy your weekend's rugby!
07 Dec 2022
Biljon's side seek eighth straight league win this season