Slowik’s late try ends Ex­iles’ un­beaten run

The Rugby Paper - - News / Championship - By TOM INNES

A LAST-GASP try by Auguy Slowik clinched a stun­ning win for Jersey over pre­vi­ously un­beaten Cham­pi­onship top dogs Jersey Reds.

With the clock in over time, the Reds found some fi­nal re­serves of en­ergy and Brett Herron broke through and slipped the ball to Slowik for his sec­ond try of the game.

Har­vey Biljon raced to em­brace his cap­tain, for­mer Lon­don Ir­ish man Jerry Sex­ton, at the fi­nal whis­tle and af­ter­wards the Reds head coach ad­mit­ted he was close to tears.

“Jerry and I had spo­ken be­fore­hand about how im­por­tant this game was for him, and the team,” he said. “We scored some great tries, in­clud­ing one from be­hind our try-line, but there were also some big mo­ments at the other end – some of our de­fence was ex­cep­tional.”

The open­ing ex­changes were at­tri­tional, with halfchances for both teams but also a se­ries of er­rors. If the first quar­ter was evenly-bal­anced, the sec­ond was a one-way tide of green to­wards the Jersey line.

Pres­sure came from a se­ries of scrums and for­ward drives, and Jersey No.8 Janco Ven­ter was yel­low-carded for killing the ball at a ruck.

With the hosts down to 14, Ir­ish seized the mo­ment and scrum ball was worked to Stephen Myler, whose back-handed pass left Topsy Ojo with a straight­for­ward div­ing fin­ish in the cor­ner. Myler added an tough con­ver­sion from the touch­line.

The home side were un­der more pres­sure af­ter half-time, los­ing pos­ses­sion from the restart and hav­ing to with­stand an­other wave of Ir­ish pres­sure. The ball was lost for­ward, but Jersey were still a man down and faced an anx­ious scrum on their line.

Although pos­ses­sion was se­cured from the set­piece, Will Homer found him­self be­hind his try-line and threw cau­tion to the wind. The Reds scrum-half launched his back-line, Aaron Penberthy gained ground to­wards half-way and found his team-mates lin­ing up in sup­port: re­place­ment Brett Herron, then James Newey and fi­nally Slowik to com­plete a mem­o­rable 100m try.

How­ever the size­able con­tin­gent of Ir­ish sup­port­ers were soon cel­e­brat­ing again as their team crossed for a sec­ond try, skip­per Josh McNally break­ing through and find­ing back row col­league Blair Cowan to fin­ish un­der the posts.

A nine-point deficit looked omi­nous for the Reds, but when Leroy Van Dam raced around Ojo to fin­ish in the cor­ner, a thrilling con­clu­sion was in prospect.

With strong im­pact from the bench, the Reds were in the as­cen­dant, but looked to be run­ning out of time. Penberthy set up good po­si­tions with his kick­ing, and although Jersey’s maul was stopped, the Reds re­tained pos­ses­sion and even­tu­ally Slowik ap­plied the fin­ish­ing touch.

It ex­tends his side's win­ning run to six games and moves them to third in the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble.

Lon­don Ir­ish di­rec­tor of rugby De­clan Kid­ney said Jersey’s win was wellde­served.

“They scored three tries to our two, and kept go­ing to the end,” he said. “Both sides were re­ally go­ing at it, and the bet­ter side won to­day. We’ve got away with it in a few games, but to­day was Jersey’s day.”

PIC­TURE: Rich Chap­man

Clincher: Auguy Slowik scores the win­ning try late on for Jersey

Slick hands: Stephen Myler puts in Topsy Ojo’s try

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