Jersey Reds – 02/09/2017

24Jersey Reds

26Doncaster Knights

2:30 pm · September 2, 2017

The Knights made a winning start to the 2017/18 campaign, coming away from the Island with a last gasp win after a pulsating match in which the lead changed hands six times.

The two-point losing margin continued the tradition of close matches between the Knights and Jersey, who also finished last season level on points in the final table, with Donny advancing to the play-offs on the ‘most wins’ tie-breaker.

The home side began the match at a fast pace, showing slick handling and a desire to run the ball, and could have scored within a few minutes, but the Doncaster defence held firm and soon afterwards the visitors were first on the scoreboard. Aaron Carpenter’s burst upfield began the move, with the ball fed to Will Owen who surged to the line. Knights’ Simon Humberstone and his counterpart Brendan Cope traded place-kicks, and Doncaster could have scored again when Tyson Lewis was unable to complete good work from Charlie Foley and Carpenter, but then the Reds took the lead. Kieran Hardy took a quickly-tapped penalty near half-way, sprinted 40 metres and fed half-back partner Brendan Cope for the try.

Replacement Tom James scored the Knights second after a kick ahead by Michael Heaney and good follow-up work by Junior Bulumakau, and the visitors took a one-point lead into half-time. Reds’ captain Scott van Breda had taken on kicking duties for one long-range penalty effort, but although his howitzer boot had the distance – around 55 metres – it was just wide.

The high point of the second half for the Reds was an electric burst down the left for a try for Jason Worrall after an assist from Van Breda. This put the hosts four points clear, but Jersey were suffering in the penalty count at this point (after conceding only three penalties to the visitors’ seven before the break) and this allowed opportunities for Humberstone. Twice in three minutes the Knights’ kicker fired over penalties from around 45 metres to complete a perfect afternoon from the tee and put his side back into the lead.

In the closing minutes the Reds were for the most part pushed back into their half as Doncaster looked to seal the win with another score. The home defence held firm and when the siege was raised there was the tantalising prospect of a final winning score, but when Bulumakau intercepted a pass from replacement Jared Saunders to Worrall, the last chance was gone, the only crumb of comfort being that the Knights wing was hauled down rather than making it all the way to the try-line.

The final result meant each team has scored 242 points in the 11 matches between the sides since Jersey reached the Championship in 2012 – the Knights now have five wins to the Reds’ four, with two draws.

Match Statistics

JERSEY REDS: Van Breda (c); Pincus, Best (Abrahams 79), Ma’afu, Worrall; Cope, Hardy; Woolmore (Godfrey 54), Macfarlane (Saunders 47), Armstrong (Atalifo 50), Voss (McKern 65), Sexton, Rogerson, Joyce (Nagle-Taylor 65), Argyle. Replacement not used: Dudley

DONCASTER KNIGHTS: Jarvis (James 29); Bulumakau, Foley, Owen, Lewis; Humberstone, Heaney; List (Evans 51), Hunter (Nelson 53), Quigley (Sproston 58), Challinor, Hicks (Eames 58), Shaw, Hills (c), Carpenter (Hill 54). Replacement not used: Cusack

REFEREE: Andrew Jackson. Assistants: Dan Parrott, Nick Marshall


Half Time: 16-17


Jersey Reds

Tries: Cope 25, Worrall 59

Conversion: Cope 25

Penalties: Cope 8, 14, 29, 46


Doncaster Knights

Tries: Owen 6, James 36

Conversions: Humberstone 6, 36

Penalties: Humberstone 10, 56, 64, 66

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