Jersey Women, who were roared on by their biggest (and most vocal) crowd of the season, defeated league leaders Amesbury 34-12 at Stade Santander International on Saturday.
The home side ran in 6 tries, in what was a dazzling and complete display by the full 22-player squad. The victory saw them take Amesbury's 100% league winning record also, following wins in their opening 7 fixtures. The Reds stretched their own winning streak to 5 games with this win.
A strong media presence was at the Stade to cover the Women's fixture, and also to document the team who have donated their Noggin' Sport prize of £1000 to their chosen charity, Mind Jersey.
Conor Joyce (Noggin Sport) handing over a cheque to James Le Feuvre (Mind Jersey) following Jersey Reds Women competition win
The Reds received kick-off, and within 3 minutes had opened their account. A powerful display in the ruck by the pack allowed Scrum-Half Bridgett Glasson to feed the ball out into the back line. The ball landed in winger Taye Boakye-Yiadom's hands 40 metres from the try-line. This didn't phase the speedster. She burst past her opposing wing, to race clear towards the line. A side-step and spin of the fullback saw her clear and able to place the ball down close to the corner nearest the Pavilion.
The excellent ball-handling of the back line was further evident with the next 2 scores. Inside-Centre, Sophie Lee jinxed her way through the Amesbury defence on 10 mins to feed her fellow Centre Roxy Rice, who raced under the posts to double Jersey's try tally. Kim Vallance landed the extra's to make it 12-0. Shortly after, Fullback Emily Hart showed her dancing feet and after throwing a smart dummy managed to dive over on the right hand side to stretch the home-side's advantage further (17-0).
Amesbury were blown away by the opening surge, but managed to find their feet as the half progressed. There was a very strong and physical contest in the pack, with the Reds needing to be very forceful in defence. This was lead primarly by back-row pair Vallance and Kerry Bertram, who repeatedly put in some destructive defensive hits. They were also backed up by the strong Front-Row pair of Paris Ozouf and Holly Bertram, who took the ball forward for Jersey brilliantly.
As the half drew close to a conclusion, Jersey managed to add a fourth try. Once again, some smart handling by Reds 10 & 12 pair Lauren Lowe and Sophie Lee, fed the ball across to right-winger Boakye-Yiadom. She did what she does best, to race around her opponent and place the ball safely under the sticks for her 10th try of the season. Vallancewas unlucky as she saw her conversion attempt hit the post, but the home side went in 22-0 up at the break.
During the interval, Coaches Eastwell and Joyce urged the women not to drop intesity in the 2nd period, and to go out with mindset that the scores were level and there was still a job to do.
The girls certainly started with that in mind. After playing a part in 3 of the first-half tries, it was time for Sophie Lee to add her name to the score-sheet. She showed some supreme pace to race clear through the defensive line, and round the full-back to score the Reds 5th try of the afternoon. Vallance added the extras to make it 29-0.
The battle in the forwards, really intesified as the 2nd period moved on. None more so than when Kerry Bertram wrestled with her opposing number beyond the limits of what was allowed by referee Pinel. Both were given a strong talking-to, but both sides remained with 15 players on the field.
For their efforts, Amesbury managed to barge their way over the line of the home side on 55 minutes. A strong ruck allowed them to drive forward and score in the left corner near the scoreboard. The conversion was missed, but their first points were registered (29-5).
The sides continued to trade blows up front. Vallance and Bertram were once again dynamic in the tackle. However, it was younger sister Holly Bertram who provided possibly the largest gasp of the day from the crowd, when she put in a huge tackle in on the Amesbury Number 6, that sent her sprawling on the floor and force a turnover.
The Try of the Day, arguably came very close to full-time. Player of the Match, Sophie Lee picked up the ball on the half-way line before using her quick feet to step through her opponents defensive line and race clear to score her second of the day and 9th overall this campaign. Vallance once again, hit the post from the conversion (34-5).
Amesbury managed to have the final say, as the Reds dropped their intesity towards the end. Their number 4 got on the end of the final pass to force her way over under the posts. As the conversion sailed over, the referee blew his whistle to draw an end to the fixture.
A thoroughly entertaining, and tough battle between the league top 2 teams saw the Reds come out victorious. They were backed up by a large and at times vocal crowd who cheered their side to victory. The Reds performed brilliantly in both halves, and a strong starting 15 were backed up by an equally healthy replacements bench, which demonstrated the strength in depth that is now available to the Reds Coaching team.
Jersey Reds Women Squad
15 - Emily Hart (1 try)
14 - Taye Boakye-Yiadom (2 tries)
13 - Roxy Rice (1 try)
12 - Sophie Lee (2 tries, Back of the match)
11 - Anna Barr
10 - Lauren Lowe (captain)
9 - Bridgett Glasson
1 - Holly Bertram
16 - Amber Hopwood*
3 - Paris Ozouf
4 - Amy Carter
5 - Kerry Le Lievre
6 - Kim Vallance
7 - Lucy Hart
8 - Kerry Bertram (Forward of the match)
17 - Christelle Mangematin
18 - Franky Vautier
19 - Bobbie Parris
20 - Tina Davies
21 - Gaby Linstead
22 - Lauren Trachy
*2 - Elsa Rocha (was due to start game, but injured in warm-up)
A selection of images below provided by Jacquie Ranieri, with thanks.
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.