Jersey Reds 21/10/22

19Jersey Reds

17Doncaster Knights

7:15 pm · October 21, 2022

Fierce Second Half From Knights Not Enough to Beat Reds in Jersey

It was a frustrating and disappointing trip to Jersey for the Knights on Friday night as they lost out 19-17 to Harvey Biljon’s side.

Steve Boden’s Doncaster side looked off their game in the first half before returning to some form after the break. However, mistakes and ill-discipline continued to hamper them before a completely uncharacteristic miss from the tee at a pivotal moment from Sam Olver denied the Knights the chance to head home with a draw to their name.

In-effective play at both the lineout and scrum hampered both sides in the opening 15 minutes as throws were stolen, scrums collapsed, and penalties were awarded at each form of set piece.

Jersey struck on minute 17. An offside penalty gave them another shot at a driving maul which had originally been repelled by the Knights. The second maul had more steam behind it and the hosts crashed over in a pile of bodies with TJ Harris emerging from the base as the try scorer. With the conversion from Russell Bennett, the Reds secured the full 7 points.

The Knights first chance at points came on 20 minutes as the travelling side were awarded a penalty for Jersey failing to roll away at the breakdown. However, Olver’s first attempt into the wind was pulled to the left of the uprights.

Jersey’s second try came as another by-product of a rolling maul. The Knights defended the short phases on their line but Jersey, with an advantage call for offside, went for the wide pass options and Scott Van Breda crossed for the score. Bennett once more adding the extras.

With a minute left on the first half clock, the Reds scored their third try, which would prove to be their last points of the game. Again, a driving maul was their original platform. The hosts went wide with pace off the back of some initial carries from the forwards. Will Brown got a delayed pass on the wing which confused the Knights backs as Harry Davey and Maliq Holden committed to the same tackle and gave the Jersey winger the chance to run in at the corner.

As the conversion attempt from Bennett came off the upright, referee George Selwood blew his whistle to bring the first half action to a close.

Play looked slightly more promising for the Donny men as the second half began. Off the back of some lovely play on the restart, Davey made a storming break with Joe Margetts in support outside of him. Making the pass, the Knights were rewarded with a penalty at the resulting breakdown from the tackle on Margetts.

The lineout which this penalty produced was the key. The throw went safely to Ben Murphy and the Knights drove their maul towards the line. For extra momentum, the backs fired in to advance towards the line and it actually resulted in Olver being the man to dot down at the base before converting his own try.

Unfortunately, the glee was short-lived as the Knights were reduced to 14 men. Doncaster were tackling hard as Jersey looked to play the ball in the middle third of the field. Margetts was the man sent from the field for the infringement of going high with his shoulder in the tackle.

Less than 10 minutes later, as the Knights waited for time to run out on the first yellow card, they were shown a second. Some serious disagreement broke out following a penalty to the Knights and after a breather to figure out what had gone on, John Kelly was the man sent from the field for foul play.

With all Knights players returned to the field and having been able to stave off all forms of attack from the hosts, on 70 minutes it was the men in red who next received the referee’s yellow card. Replacement prop Adam Nicol was sent to the sin bin for what looked to be a call for bringing down the maul on the line.

A tense 6 minutes later, the Knights scored their second. Jersey kicked down Holden’s channel and the Donny man fed his fellow winger, George Simpson, for the break. Simpson snuck the ball inside to Margetts who danced his way forward around a tackle. Quick ball provision to Olver from the breakdown released Connor Edwards and with Davey in support, the try was secured for the full-back.

The conversion pulled wide off Olver’s boot, but the Knights looked determined to make the most of the 4 short minutes they had left in the game.

Jersey’s restart kick rumbled dead, causing a scrum on the halfway line. After a couple of re-sets, the Knights scrummaged solidly and looked to play off the back. Jared Cardew received the ball in his own half and made a stormer of a break to feed his fellow replacement Robbie Smith in the Jersey 22.

Playing on the line as the seconds ticked by, it was with doggedness that the Knights went over in a heap for a third try. Replacement prop Mak Wilson was awarded the plaudits as try-scorer as the Knights retreated and Olver prepared for the conversion attempt.

Unfortunately, despite the comeback, the draw was not meant to be as the ball went wide of the posts. A credit to the camaraderie amongst the Knights, his teammates immediately surrounded Olver to reassure the disappointed fly-half.

The losing bonus point was taken back to Doncaster this weekend, but there will be some tough work to be done in training this coming week before the Knights welcome Ampthill to Castle Park on Saturday, October 29.

Match Statistics

Jersey Reds XV | 15 Scott Van Breda; 14 Ben Woollett, 13 Alex McHenry, 12 Jordan Holgate, 11 Will Brown; 10 Russell Bennett, 9 James Mitchell; 1 Sam Grahamslaw, 2 Antonio Harris, 3 Steven Longwell, 4 Sean O’Connor, 5 Macauley Cook, 6 James Dun, 7 Lewis Wynne, 8 Alun Lawrence.

Replacements | 16 Eoghan Clarke, 17 Greg McGrath, 18 Adam Nicol, 19 Hamish Bain, 20 Max Argyle, 21 James Elliott, 22 Dan Barnes, 23 Ryan Hutler.

Tries: Harris, Van Breda, Brown

Cons: Bennett 2 

Yellow card: Adam Nicol


Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 George Simpson, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Ben Carlile, 2 George Edgson, 3 Jake Armstrong, 4 Ehize Ehizode, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Thom Smith, 7 Martin Sigren, 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 Evan Mintern, 20 Sam Daly, 21 Joe Green, 22 Robbie Smith, 23 Jared Cardew.

Tries: Olver, Davey, Wilson

Cons: Olver

Yellow card: Joe Margetts, John Kelly


Referee: George Selwood

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