Reds weather early storm to bring up half ton in style
JERSEY battled back from a 22-point deficit to claim an eventually comfortable win in their final home league outing.
Visitors Nottingham enjoyed a purple patch in the first half, scoring four tries in 15 minutes, but then faded and finished well beaten.
“The first half hour was definitely not in the script – we knew Nottingham would be like a wounded animal after losing the previous weekend, but we failed to weather the storm and made several errors in defence,” said Reds assistant coach Neil Tunnah.
“The players were challenged to get on the front foot and get points on the board, and we finished strongly including some good impact from the bench.”
The home side struck first with on-loan centre James Newey crossing after just four minutes. Tiff Eden’s penalty got the Green & Whites on the board, and then superb interplay between Will Millett and Billy Robinson led to the latter scoring his side’s first try.
A yellow card to Jersey’s Max Argyle for a high tackle triggered more points for the visitors: Ben West barged over straight from the resulting lineout, then skipper Ben Morris fed Shane Buckley and finally Tim Cardall took a pass from Sean Scanlon to canter home.
The Reds were able to trim the deficit before the break thanks to tries by Auguy Slowik, after a Scott Van Breda run, and Jerry Sexton from a lineout, and there was no let-up after the break. Brendan Cope and Jake Upfield crossed at the end of flowing moves and the Reds were back in front; Slowik’s second just before the hour gave a little breathing space.
The Reds became increasingly dominant in all areas of the game and finally broke through for two more late scores after each side was reduced to 14, with replacement No.9s Kieran Hardy and Darryl Veenendaal sinbinned after a scuffle.
First Cope crossed from the stand-in scrumhalf position and, with the last play, Van Breda fed Tom Pincus for a final flourish.
Nottingham head coach Ian Costello bemoaned his side’s failure to push on from a good opening 30 minutes.
“There was a real momentum swing at the end of the first half with two soft tries and we were very, very poor in the second half. It was a comprehensive scoreline in the end.”