Jersey Reds – 03/12/2016

35Jersey Reds

29Doncaster Knights

2:30 pm · December 3, 2016

Jersey Reds 35-29 Doncaster Knights

The Knights made the journey to St. Peter in search of a second Championship away win of the season amidst a rather serious injury shortage.  Indeed, every fit player was included in the match day twenty-two which also included four dual-registered players.

Recent head to heads between the two clubs have resulted in, low scoring hard-fought affairs with both clashes on the Island ending in draws last season.

Playing into a strong headwind, the first half was always going to be challenging for the Knights but few would have predicted just how much they would struggle against the Jersey attack in the opening forty. A bewildering first half display saw the Knights conced 32 points and a four try bonus point to give themselves a mammoth task after the interval and despite a committed display had to settle for two losing bonus points.

The signs were bleak from the off when Sam Katz struck an on-target penalty with the game just over a minute old after Lloyd Hayes was pushed to touch from the restart.

Jersey’s ball carriers looked threatening early doors and the Knights, usually rock solid, defence looked somewhat fragile with one on one tackles not being made with the consistency they needed to. It was this defensive frailty that lead to the first score just before the ten-minute mark.

A clearance kick caught the wind meaning it sat up high without making vast ground which should have given the Knights kick chase time to align but instead a disjointed effort was broken through by winger George Watkins who went on to break further challenges and score the game’s first try.

It didn’t take long for the Islanders to register their second, after field position was secured through some unfortunate handling in the Knights back field. A powerful lineout brought a penalty that was put to the corner from which the home pack rumbled over the line with skipper James Freeman claiming the score.

Jersey had their third on the twenty-minute mark, after a nice spell of possession by the Knights, the ball was spilled forward at a ruck and went straight into the hands of Nick Haining. The number eight had a clear run at the line and from just inside his own half was able to make the corner with Knights defenders in hot pursuit.

Katz accuracy with the boot meant that Jersey lead by 22 point with only a quarter of the game gone, surely one of the worst starts Doncaster Knights have made to a Championship fixture?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t about to get much better, more chances went the way of the hosts as the Knights struggled to impose themselves on the fixture and they added a, bonus point winning, fourth try just after the half hour mark. The impressive Watkins hit a nice inside line to slice through a gap and sprint home untouched. Katz conversion took the score to 29-0.

With three minutes left in the half the Knights finally managed to create something and Tyson Lewis raced away, down the left wing for a score after WillGriff John and Jarad Williams created good field position with purposeful carries in the Jersey half. Flockhart’s conversion made it 29-7.

Jersey had the final say in a half they dominated as Katz brought the opening forty to an end with a good kick following a scrum penalty against the Knights.

With nothing to lose, Clive and the coaching staff made drastic changes at half time with a complete change in the half backs as Ben White and Simon Humberstone switched with Michael Heaney and Dec Cusack. Sam Edgerley also came on at full back in place of Sean Scanlon

The second half started encouragingly for the Knights who moved their total into double figures with a successful penalty shortly after the restart but apart from that were unable to unlock the Jersey defence early in the second period. Katz added a penalty of his own on 57 minutes to reinstate a 25 point advantage for the hosts.

The Knights got their second score on the hour mark after Simon Humberstone was able to use the wind to send a penalty deep into the home 22m. A good lineout drive was eventually stopped short by the home pack but Glen Young managed to fight through a hole with a pick and go carry from close range.

The final twenty minutes saw a much improved display from the Knights who finally cut lose and went after the Jersey midfield, running with greater urgency and purpose. The forwards began to win the battle upfront and with just over ten minutes remaining WillGriff John crashed over after a serious of pick and go carries post line out.

Still chasing a sizeable deficit, any chance of a win still looked unlikely but when Ben White scored with two minutes to go the travelling support got rather excited. A nice chip forward from Humberstone was collected by Jack Bergmanas on his return to Championship action who offloaded to Glen Young who in turn found White and the scrum half managed to squeeze over to score. Flockhart coolly slotted the extras to bring the Knights within losing bonus point range

In the game’s final stages the Knights threw all they had at Jersey but ultimately could not complete what would have been the most miraculous of turn arounds. The Knights will take some comfort from their second half endeavours but will need to look very closely at what happened in the first half when they review the game on Monday.

Match Statistics

15) Sam Katz, 14) George Watkins, 13) Jordan Davies (Kieran Hardy 37’), 12) Apakuki Ma’afu, 11) Jack Cuthbert, 10) James McKinney, 9) Sami Fisilau, 1) Marc Thomas (Sean McCarthy 61’), 2) Joe Buckle (Jack Macfarlane 74’), 3) Simon Kerrod (Mark Tampin 67’), 4) Nick Campbell, 5) Uili Kolo’ofa’I, 6) James Freeman (capt) (Max Argyle 50’), 7) Gary Graham, 8) Nick Haining (Dave McKern 61’) Replacements; 16) Jack Macfarlane, 17) Sean McCarthy, 18) Mark Tampin, 19) Dave McKern, 20) Max Argyle, 21) Kieran Hardy, 22) Joel Dudley.

Tries; Watkins 9’, 33’, Freeman 15’, Haining 20’

Conv; Katz 10’, 20’ 33’

Pens; Katz 2’, 39’, 57’

Knights XV; 15) Sean Scanlon (Sam Edgerley 40’), 14) Paul Jarvis, 13) Dougie Flockhart, 12) Lloyd Hayes, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Dec Cusack (Simon Humberstone 40’), 9) Michael Heaney (Ben White 40’), 1) Robin Hislop (Richard List 55’) (Rich List 74’), 2) Ben Hunter (Jack Bergmanas 69’), 3) WillGriff John 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Dave Nolan, 6) Glen Young (Huw Taylor 58’), 7) Harrison Orr, 8) Jarad Williams.

Replacements; 16) Richard List, 17) Jack Bergmanas, 18) Joe Sproston, 19) Huw Taylor, 20) Ben White, 21) Simon Humberstone, 22) Sam Edgerley.

Tries; Lewis 37’, Young 63’, WillGriff John 71’, White 78’

Conv; Flockhart 37’, 63’, 78’

Pens; Flockhart 43’

Attendance; 1,277

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