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Bedford (H) 27.09.12


Jersey 19 Bedford 29
September 29th 2012
RFU Championship

As his players walked off the field having secured a bonus-point victory, Blues boss Mike Rayer lambasted them for a "diabolical" display and said Jersey had deserved to win.

The Islanders were left empty-handed and rooted to the bottom of the Championship in spite of a stirring second-half comeback that ended with 13-man Bedford hanging on for victory.

"Had it gone on much longer we would have lost, and deservedly so," Rayer said afterwards. "Five points are not to be sniffed up but that doesn't mean it was acceptable.

"We missed scoring opportunities that would have killed off the game, we were missing tackles and not respecting the ball. If Jersey had taken their chances they would have won."

The home side were under early pressure in the set-piece, conceding two penalties and a free-kick from scrums. The Jersey pack then asserted themselves, earning a penalty in their favour only for Mike Le Bourgeois to miss the target.

James Pritchard opened the scoring from a penalty earned after Ben Ransom's searing run into Jersey's half, and was soon popping over a conversion after Josh Bassett had broken through the Jersey midfield and fed Paul Tupai for a try.

Jersey pressed for a score of their own but lost maul ball soon after claiming an attacking line-out near the Blues' line, allowing the visitors to clear. Mark Atkinson then took advantage of hesitation in the home midfield to glide through for his side's second try.

Bedford stretched their lead just before the break, Bassett again sparking the attack and allowing Pritchard to deliver a scoring pass to Sacha Harding, supporting well and crossing in the corner.

Early Bedford pressure in the second period led to a yellow card for Jersey's Steve Boden and the under-strength home pack suffered in his absence, conceding a penalty try.

Facing the prospect of a trouncing, Jersey rallied: Tongan flanker burst in to the Blues' half, defied a 'clothes-line' tackle and the ball was worked wide for replacement Glenn Bryce to score. The try gave huge self-belief to the home side, and a series of forward surges saw captain Nathan Hannay claim a try.

When Blues' prop Ricky Reeves was red-carded for a tip-tackle on Hannay, Jersey sensed the chance of a further score. Donovan Sanders stripped an opponent of possession, the ball was worked wide and Ed Dawson sped down the wing for a try.

Bedford lost another player when Ben Cooper was sin-binned, and Jersey pressed for a fourth try that would have earned two bonus points. Having benefitted from 13 minutes of added time in their previous game, the Blues were glad to see 'no-side' signalled after just three added minutes as they defended desperately.

For the second week running Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey was left to lament first-half errors that left his side with a mountain to climb.

"You can't kick as poorly as we did to a side like that - they will counter-attack and can destroy you," he said. "Unfortunately it was only when this had happened and given us a wake-up call that we started to show any real intensity.

"The boys showed great self-belief in the last half-hour and showed what they could do, especially with the crowd behind them."

Jersey: Richard Barrington, Steve Boden, Ben Evans (James Gethings 47), Nathan Hannay (C), Rob Anderson (Paul Rodgers 60), Talite Vaoileti, Kingsley Lang (Sean McCarthy 49), Fred Silcock (Guy Thompson 40), Dave McCormack (Nicky Griffiths 49), Ross Broadfoot (Donovan Sanders 53), Ed Dawson, Dai Bishop, Mike Le Bourgeois, Ed Tellwright, Barry Davies (Glenn Bryce 40).

Blues: Ricky Reeves, Neil Cochrane, Phil Boulton (Ben Cooper 60), Mike Howard, Ben Gulliver, Gregor Gillanders, Sacha Harding (Darren Fox 60), Paul Tupai (Alex Rae 60), Luke Baldwin (Darryl Veenendaal 55), Mark Atkinson, James Pritchard (C), Henry Staff (Dan Seal 75), Brendan Burke, Josh Bassett, Ben Ransom. Replacements not used: Ian Vass, Mark Kohler.

Referee: Martin Fox

Attendance: 2,071
Man-of-the-Match: Talite Vaoileti (Jersey)

Blues' Followers man-of-match:  Mark Atkinson
Half-time: 0-22

Tries: Bryce 54, Hannay 61, Dawson 69
Conversions: Le Bourgeois 55, 61

Tries: Tupai 17, Atkinson 29, Harding 37, Penalty Try 49
Conversions: Pritchard 17, 29, 49
Penalty: Pritchard 14

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