Match Reports

Jersey Reds 31 Nottingham Rugby 10


The Reds overcame a determined effort by Nottingham to ensure their progress to the last four of the Championship Cup with their fifth win in six pool games

A fast start by the home side saw hooker James Hadfield, a late entrant to the starting XV following illness to Eoghan Clarke, steer a maul over the line in the second minute.

Nottingham defended well and exerted pressure thanks to the tactical kicking of Morgan Bunting, who executed two 50:22 attempts after an earlier clearance had caught the wind and rolled dead from around 70 metres, but the hosts couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity.

Although mild, the conditions were difficult with a swirling breeze and occasional drizzle – what might be referred to as “dreich” weather by members of the Reds’ Scottish contingent.

Forced onto the defensive for large parts of the half, the Reds eventually scored again in the final minute after a good run by scrum-half Toby Venner, making his first appearance on home turf after recovering from injury. Front-fivers Tom Everard and Adam Nicol followed up and the finishing touch was applied by Dan Barnes, who had sparked the move in the first place with his pass to Venner.

The try-tally doubled within four minutes of the restart as Hadfield crossed from another maul and then Will Brown raced to beat former team-mate Ryan Olowofela to a perfectly-weighted chip by Tomi Lewis.

Nottingham attacked with spirit, drew a yellow card for James Dun for killing the ball and then worked replacement prop Toby Williams over for a close-range try, followed by another on the counter as David Williams raced 70 metres down the wing.

After a solid 40 minutes from Tom Pittman, new signing Ben Burnell was introduced for his debut at half-time and showed some good touches with passes and tactical kicks, although he was presented with three testing conversion attempts from the touchline and saw two go wide.

The Jersey scrum got stronger as the game progressed and bulldozed the visiting pack off their own ball to claim a pushover score for Hallam Chapman and seal the win.

A scrum penalty on halfway against the visitors proved to be the final act of the game, with the Reds taking the pragmatic option of kicking the ball out to finish the game. This signaled the start of a few days off before the resumption of the league campaign, which will see another home game on Saturday March 4th, with Caldy the visitors.

Assistant referee Ian Bibey, who had experienced flight delays and landed in Jersey less than two hours prior to kick-off, took charge of his first match of the season following injury to Hamish Smales during the warm-up, and showed an authoritative and measured touch in his control of the game.

Jersey director of rugby Harvey Biljon gave credit to the visitors but his main reaction was pleasure at victory in what he described as “knock-out rugby”.

“We knew we had to win to progress, and we did that,” he said. “We were clunky in the first half and conditions were a bit tougher than expected, but the players really took on board the tactics discussed at half-time.”

The identity of the last four of the Championship Cup is now confirmed, with Cornish Pirates, Ealing Trailfinders and Doncaster Knights joining the Reds in the mix. Semi-finals will be staged over the first weekend of May, with the pairings set to be confirmed in the coming days.

Picture by Jacquie Ranieri

JERSEY REDS: Lewis; Hutler, Powell, Barnes, Brown (McHenry 63); Pittman (Burnell h-t), Venner (Elliott 60); Grahamslaw (Owen 60), Hadfield (Doolan 73), Nicol (Longwell 54), Everard, Scott (Grey 63), Cook (capt), Gray (Chapman 70), Dun.

NOTTINGHAM: Olowofela J; Williams D, Green (Ramage 60), Pohe, Olowofela R; Bunting (Neville 45), Slatem (Stronge h-t); Sio (Williams T, h-t), Vanes (Clayton 47), Valentine (Bishop 60), Allen, Shine, Bundy (Ecclesfield 45), Tweedy (capt), Maloney (Van der Flier 63).

REFEREE: Ian Bibey. Assistants: Adam White, Simon Park.
Half Time: 14-0
Attendance: 1,204

Jersey Reds
Tries: Hadfield 2, 41, Barnes 40, Brown 44, Chapman 72
Conversions: Pittman 2, 40, Burnell 44

Tries: Williams T 53, Williams D 62





12 Oct 2023


Why not come and chillout in the ‘Watering Hole’ before the game? A full-bar and food is available and you can enjoy some live music after the game.

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