Last gasp de­feat sees Ex­iles win­ning ways come to an end

The Wokingham Paper - - SPORT -

THE UN­BEATEN start is over for Lon­don Ir­ish af­ter a last-gasp de­feat at bo­gey side Jer­sey.

The Chan­nel Is­lan­ders were the only team to beat the Ex­iles the last time they were in the Cham­pi­onship and they re­peated the trick in dra­matic fash­ion.

Lead­ing 14-10 head­ing into the fi­nal minute thanks to tries from Topsy Ojo and Blair Cowan, Ir­ish looked like they had done enough to cling on un­til Auguy Slowik burst through for Jer­sey in the fi­nal play of the game.

“Jer­sey outscored us three tries to two so they de­served their vic­tory,” said di­rec­tor of rugby De­clan Kid­ney.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re dis­ap­pointed at fin­ish­ing this part of the sea­son with that loss but we need to re­group now.

“There’s things to be learnt from it.”

Ta­ble-top­ping Ir­ish made five changes from their win over

Cor­nish Pi­rates with Ciaran Hearn, Stephen Myler, Bar­ney Mad­di­son, Pat Cil­liers and Dave Porecki re­plac­ing Bren­dan Macken, Bren­dan McKib­bin, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Motu Matu’u and Jake Schatz.

It was a phys­i­cal en­counter from the off at St Peter and the game de­vel­oped into a kick­ing con­test.

The dead­lock was fi­nally bro­ken on the half hour mark when the Ex­iles got their noses in front. Af­ter Jer­sey’s Janco Ven­ter had been sent to the sin bin for il­le­gally stop­ping a quick ball, Ir­ish made the ex­tra man count when Ojo burst along the touch­line to score be­fore Myler added the ex­tras.

Un­de­terred by fall­ing be­hind, the Reds pep­pered the Ir­ish back-line and while Kid­ney’s men pre­served their 7-0 lead into half-time, Jer­sey scored soon af­ter the restart in in­cred­i­ble fash­ion.

Col­lect­ing the ball be­hind their own try-line, the hosts bril­liantly worked the ball all the way up the field be­fore Slowik went over in the cor­ner.

A pe­riod of pres­sure from Jer­sey fol­lowed, but Ir­ish held firm and struck again when cap­tain Josh McNally found a gap to off­load to the ma­raud­ing Cowan to score un­der the posts.

Leeroy Van Dam re­duced the ar­rears to 14-10 with 20 min­utes to play as the home fans sensed a shock win.

Time ap­peared to have run out for Jer­sey with the clock four min­utes be­yond the 80, but they con­tin­u­ally worked through 16 bruis­ing phases be­fore even­tu­ally find­ing a way through with Slowik do­ing the hon­ours again.

Aaron Pen­berthy added the ex­tras with the fi­nal kick of the game as Reds made it six wins in a row.

Ex­iles sit top of the ta­ble at the half­way mark, four points clear of Eal­ing Trail­find­ers with a block of six cup matches next up be­fore Christ­mas, start­ing away at Hart­pury Col­lege on Satur­day (1pm).

LON­DON IR­ISH: McLean, Ojo (Tonks 57), Hearn, Camp­bell, Has­sell-Collins, Myler, Mee­han (Steele 64), Cil­liers (Hobb­sA­woyemi 46), Porecki (Matu’u 52), Hoskins (Saulo 72), Mad­di­son, Paulo (Gilse­nan 64), McNally (c), Cowan (Schatz 64), Roger­son. Tries: Ojo (31), Cowan (50)

Cons: Myler x2 (32,51)

JER­SEY: Slowik, Marx (Her­ron 14), Newey, Best, Van Dam, Pen­berthy, Homer (Wa­ters 63), Mor­ley (God­frey 45), Mad­di­son (Sel­way 55), Atal­ifo (Rod­man 60), Sex­ton (c), McKern (Beck­ett 53), Ar­gyle (Hatherell 75), Bar­tle, Ven­ter.

Tries: Slowik x2 (45,80), Van Dam (60)

Con: Pen­berthy (80)

Yel­low card: Ven­ter (31)

Ref­eree: Luke Pearce

At­ten­dance: 2,515 Scor­ing se­quence (Ir­ish first): 5-0, 7-0, 7-5, 12-5, 14-5, 14-10, 14-15, 14-17.

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