Preview - Stourbridge v Jersey
For the third weekend running, Jersey tackle a team from the
lower reaches of the SSE National League One table who have just a
single victory to their name so far this season.
But if the league table suggests Jersey could be favourites for
Saturday's trip to Stourbridge in the Black Country, there are
plenty of signs to the contrary. The 45-5 thumping of Wharfedale at
St Peter on Saturday may have been straightforward, but away
fixtures are a different matter, as the Islanders know to their
cost after the 19-16 reverse at Cinderford the weekend before.
Contrary to the old adage, the league table may lie, especially
during the early weeks of the season, and additionally it is clear
that there are no pushover teams making up the numbers in National
One, as has sometimes happened when a club runs into difficulties
and goes into freefall - Manchester and Newbury being recent
Many games that may on paper have appeared easy have turned out
to be anything but - just last weekend Barking pulled off a
stunning away win at Fylde, by a comfortable margin (13 points) and
with 14 men after a first-half red card; meanwhile Stourbridge took
the lead against leaders Ealing and, after falling behind,
recovered boldly to claim a losing point (22-29).
Having run Ealing close away from home, Stour will certainly
fancy their chances of going one better against Jersey at their
well-appointed Stourton Park crowd in front of the large number of
former players who are convening for a pre-match lunch. The home
crowd will be looking to their side to add to their only win of the
season so far, a 19-16 success at Birmingham Bees on September
Director of Rugby Neil Mitchell has assembled a strong coaching
line-up, starting last season with the 18-times-capped
Springbok full back Thinus Delport to look after the backs,
and bolstered this summer with the arrival of Worcester hooker
Chris Fortey as Forwards Coach.
Both of the 'big names' are registered to play as well as coach,
but injury has prevented Delport from joining the fray so far,
while Fortey remains on the books at Worcester and has been a
regular face on the Warriors' bench (and coming off it) this season
rather than being able to pull on a Stour shirt.
The Stourbridge pack has been bolstered this season with the
arrival of former Leicester, Coventry and Cambridge lock Robbie
Hurrell, while the return of experienced prop Adam Sturdy was one
factor that made last weekend's Ealing game such a well-contested
In the backs, brothers Nathan and Alistair Bressington provide
some essential gas, and plenty of tries, older brother Alistair
having broken his sibling's record of 17 tries in a season with 19
of his own in 2006/07.
Fly-half Mark Woodrow has been a reliable source of points with
his goal-kicking this season, even if he has some way to go before
threatening the club's kicking records, a number of which are still
held by Jersey's Head Coach Ben Harvey from his time at Storurton
Park during the early 'noughties'.
Although his team for this Saturday remains unconfirmed, Harvey
could be in the luxurious position of being able to name an
unchanged Jersey XV this Saturday for the first time this season.
No fresh knocks were picked up against Wharfedale, and with Mike Le
Bourgeois settling in at fly-half, James Copsey at centre, Glenn
Bryce at full back and winger Ashley Maggs settling on his return
to the fray, the back line is performing well in spite of missing
the talents of Nicky Griffiths, Ross Broadfoot and Dai Bishop.
The experience of Jim Brownrigg has helped the Jersey pack,
providing sage advice for hooker Charlie Clyde-Smith and allowing
Paul Rodgers to show the more expansive side of his game from
flanker. Impact from the bench, a key factor in the away win at
Rosslyn Park three weeks ago, is also likely to be an important
card in Harvey's hand.
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey
v Stourbridge through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey's 'Sportscene' from 6- 7pm on Friday,
and regular updates on Saturday afternoon
• Preview in Friday's JEP, and full match coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
• Match report on Channel 103 at 5.10pm on Saturday
• Highlights on Channel TV at 6.15pm on Monday, and online
23 Mar 2023
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