Nottingham (H) 16.3.1316/03/2013
Jersey 13 Nottingham 20
by Tom Innes
Nottingham recovered from a torrid first half to claim the spoils in Jersey and enhance their chances of claiming second place in the Championship.
The home side led 7-3 at the break but should have been further ahead. The Islanders had to be content with a bonus point, while Notts' coach Martin Haag was pleased to come away with a win.
"I wasn't pleased with the first half display, but we improved significantly, and to get the win against a good side on a boggy pitch was pleasing," he said. "I wasn't happy losing two men to the sin-bin but the way we held Jersey out at that stage was crucial to the result."
Jersey attacked from the kick-off and soon gained a platform to test Nottingham's scrum. After two penalties and two resets referee Martin Fox signalled a penalty try.
Mark Foster was sin-binned for the Islanders and in his absence James Arlidge had two penalty shots at goal for Nottingham, converting one.
Then it was Nottingham's turn to see yellow, with hooker Joe Duffey carded for foul play and prop Michael Holford following for a technical offence. There was a chance for an attacking scrum, but instead the ball was kicked to touch, to the disbelief of the home crowd, and the opportunity for points against 13 men slipped away.
Both sides began the second half at full strength, Arlidge reducing the deficit with an early penalty. Thereafter his side gained a foothold in the game and went ahead when captain Brent Wilson finished off a catch-and-drive penalty move.
Jersey looked to score again from another series of scrums, but failed to do so, and after a Le Bourgeois penalty, Wilson scored another try, also from an attacking lineout. It was left to Le Bourgeois to seal a bonus point for his side with a gutsy penalty from 40 metres out.
"Maybe we didn't take the right options at times, but I couldn't fault our work rate," said Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey. "The fact that we're disappointed to lose by seven points to a team with Premiership ambitions shows how far we have come."
Harvey also paid tribute to the hard work of all those whose efforts had enabled the game to go ahead.
Jersey's bonus point leaves the Islanders six points clear of
12th-placed Doncaster in their bid to avoid relegation in their
first season in the Championship.
Jersey, sponsored by Locate Jersey and jersey.com: Davies (McCormack 72), McCrea (Sanders 25), Foster, Stelling, Dawson, Le Bourgeois, Griffiths (capt); McCarthy, Felton, Brennan (Gethings 77), Hannay (Voss 33), Markham, Walker-Blair (Silcock 44), Thompson. Replacements not used: Barrington, Clare.
Nottingham: Savage, Lewington, Cobden (Forsyth
62), Munro, Jackson (Bower 33-36), Arlidge, Romans (Barnham 62);
Harris, Duffey (Malton 67), Holford (Bower 76), Montagu, Rouse,
Cooper (Malton 33-36, Calladine 67), Wilson (capt), Shaw.
Replacements not used: Quinn, Lynn.
Referee: Martin Fox
Star Man: James Arlidge (Nottingham)
Try: Penalty try 7
Conversion: Le Bourgeois 7
Penalties: Le Bourgeois 61, 71
Tries: Wilson 48, 67
Conversions: Arlidge 48, 67
Penalties: Arlidge 15, 45