Jersey Reds – 23/01/2016

19Doncaster Knights

24Jersey Reds

2:00 pm · January 23, 2016

Doncaster Knights 19-24 Jersey

An 80th minute score from Samoan international centre Tua Otto was enough to see Jersey put an end to the Knights 12-game unbeaten run. The victory meant the Islanders qualify for the knock out stage of this year’s British and Irish Cup however the losing bonus point was enough to secure the Pool 5 top spot for the Knights.

It was the fourth time the two sides had met this season, the Knights took the first league fixture back in September before back to back draws on the Island and it was another typically close encounter. There was little to report on in the opening forty minutes with sides playing somewhat cautiously; the two packs locking horns at regular intervals. In the face of some peculiar officiating the Knights pack came under scrutiny at scrum time and despite regular complaints from Richard List and Colin Quigley about some of the tactics employed by the visitors referee Michael Hudson awarded several penalties against the Doncaster forwards.

Eventually a set piece decision went the Knights way and Dougie Flockhart took the opportunity to open the scoring with a well struck penalty however Brendan Cope cancelled the effort out on 18 minutes with a penalty of his own. This concluded the first half scoring and attacking threats were few and far between. Doncaster probably created the better of the limited opportunities, a clever blindside switch by Michael Heaney post line out put Dougie Flockhart in motion, the winger chipped ahead but Paul Jarvis could not quite make up the necessary ground on centre Mark Cooke who was able to ground the ball in his own goal area. Arguably the best opportunity of the first half fell to Tyson Lewis following a nice set move, the winger took an inside line off Dec Cusack to burst clear, Flockhart was chasing hard in support but at full tilt Lewis saw his pass drop a long way wide of its intended target.

As the first half drew to a close scrum half Heaney was subject to a cynical offside challenge from Tua Otto following a tapped penalty. The centre was shown a yellow card for the indiscretion and with a man advantage the Knights ended the opening period in the ascendancy, this could not translated into points however.

Thankfully, the second half saw the clash open up somewhat and it was the Knights who came out firing. A mistake at the base of a Jersey scrum saw the ball spurt out and scrum half Heaney was quickest to collect, the former Ulster man promptly spun possession wide where Andy Bulumakau carried to within a meter of the try line. At the subsequent breakdown Heaney dummied before going alone and was able to dart through a half gap and touch down for the game’s first try. Flockhart added the extras, 10-3. Heaney may well have scored again moments later but as the number nine broke play was brought back as Dec Cusack was judged to have placed a foot in touch before releasing an inside pass to his fellow half back. Momentum remained with the Knights and following back to back penalties Flockhart decided to have a go at goal and made no mistake to open up a ten point advantage as Otto returned from the sin bin.

The Jersey response was swift and they quickly registered their first try of the afternoon. Purposeful carrying moved the Islanders downfield and with the Knights defence scurrying backwards the visiting back row produced a trio of clever offloads which resulted in Captain Pierce Phillips going over from short range. Cope put over the extras, 13-10.

Dougie added his third penalty of the day just five minutes later, only for Jersey to take the lead for the first time in the game with quarter of an hour to play. A driving line out in the Knights 22m was initially repelled by the home pack but patient work saw Gary Graham finish off a well-constructed rolling maul and Cope added the extras.

From the restart the Knights re-established their advantage as possession was spilled by the visitors and the home pack produced a surging drive to force a scrum penalty which was dispatched by Flockhart. 19-17 with just under ten minutes remaining.

The final moments of the game belonged to the Islanders who flooded forward with gusto. Good defensive work from replacement Si Humberstone and Paul Jarvis prevented Tua Otto from crossing with three minutes left but it was Otto who would have the final say. After a long driving lineout from outside the Knights 22m Jersey brought the ball in field and the centre, who had been so influential throughout the game, hit a nice line to cross the white wash. Cope slotted the extras to take the score to 19-24 and with the referee Hudson ended the game.

Final standing:

1. Leinster A – 29pts (top of pool 1)

2. Yorkshire Carnegie – 26 (top of pool 3)

3. Bedford Blues – 19 (top of pool 2)

4. Cornish Pirates – 23 (top of pool 4)

5. Doncaster – 22 (top of pool 5)

6. Jersey – 21 (2nd in pool 5)

7. London Scottish – 20 (2nd in pool 3)

8. Moseley – 20 (2nd in pool 1)

The quarter-final pairings will be confirmed by the Organising Committee during the first week of February. Games will take place over the weekend on Friday 11th to Sunday 13th of March. The semi-final draw will also take place at the start of February with games to be played on the weekend of Friday 18th to Sunday 20th of March.

Match Statistics

Doncaster Knights: 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Andy Bulumakau, 12) Mat Clark, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Dec Cusack (Simon Humberstone 68), 9) Heaney, 1) Richard List (Tiziano Pasquali 68), 2) Ben Hunter (Vili Veikoso 65), Colin Quigley (Joe Sprotson 68), Matt Challinor, Tyler Hotson (Jon Phelan 65’), Latu Makaafi, Michael Hills (c), Ollie Stedman (Alex Shaw 65).

Tries: Heaney 42’

Conv: Flockhart 42’

Pens: Flockhart 7’, 49’, 59’, 70’

Jersey: 15) Ross Adair, 14) Tom Howe, 13) Tua Otto, 12) Mark Cooke, 11) Rich Lane, 10) Brendan Cope (Rory Jennings 77), 9) Sami Fisilau (Jack Moates 61), 1) Sam Lockwood (Ignacio Lancuba 68), 2) Nick Selway (Martin Garcia-Veiga 50), 3) Oliver Tomaszczyk (Simon Kerrod 46), 4) Pierce Phillips (c), 5) Will Rowlands (Uili Kolo’ofa’i 61), 6) James Freeman (Alex Rae 45), 7) Gary Graham, 8) Nick Haining.
Tries: Phillips 52’, Graham 64’, Otto 80’

Conv: Cope 52’, 64’, Jennings 80’

Pens: Cope 18’

Sin bin; Otto

Referee: Michael Hudson (RFU)

Attendance: 1,386
Image by Peter Eccles

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