Jersey edge rugby’s junior club inter-insular

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The Sarnians, like Jersey fielding some youngsters for the annual contest – from which the islands’ national league players are excluded – could take a lot of pride in their performance but Jersey proved that bit stronger.

In a passionate affair Jersey never relinquished the lead once they had taken it, but neither did Guernsey lose touch until the dying moments when victory was sealed with a try from Mitie Beeches prop Ian Burrell.

Fullback Richie Stevens had earlier scored twice for Jersey with Will O’Brien kicking seven points in total, including one hugely important and impressive penalty.

Although there were five yellow cards issued, three to Jersey, by a referee described by Montgomery as ‘excellent,’ most were for killing-the-ball offences.

‘The game was played in a great spirit and I’m very pleased and relieved with the performance, particularly given the lack of time the lads had together,’ said Montgomery.

The home side started brightly enough with scrum half Carl Gardner regularly presented with good quick ball at rucks, but they were hit by a sucker punch after seven minutes.

Gathered Guernsey were building a strong attack but fullback Arron Le Masurier, through no fault of his own, could not get his hands on a wayward pass and within a flash Jersey had gathered the loose ball and Mark Le Mottée fed Stevens who raced 70 yards to score.

O’Brien added the conversion.

Jersey were now the dominant force with their forwards doing some sterling work and it was no surprise when they doubled their advantage on 18 minutes.

The pack executed a fine catch and drive from the Guernsey 22 out on the left and, after a good blindside break from captain Pat Dean, the ball finally came out to the backs and O’Brien timed his pop pass to perfection as Stevens joined the line at pace; the fullback racing to the posts unopposed for another converted try.

The Guernsey response was impressive and they soon halved the deficit as their player-of-the-match Divon Crouse came in off his wing to act in his more usual role of scrum-half at a ruck, spotted a gap and darted through it before beating the last man for a cracking individual score.

Gardner added the extras.

Soon after the turnaround, Gardner reduced the arrears by three with Jersey guilty of killing the ball after Alec Bailey’s fine break.

But a four-point deficit was as close as Guernsey were to get to their opponents.

The next 25 minutes were scoreless as Jersey coped well with two more sin-bins and O’Brien then struck a peach of a penalty from just inside the Guernsey half following Le Cocq’s yellow-card incident.

With the clock running down, the visitors made sure of the win as they made a great job of spoiling a Guernsey lineout 5m from the home line and Burrell forced his way over.

It was a creditable performance from the home side, which left assistant coach Jon Arch ‘ecstatic’.

‘They gave it their all – not just today but for the last two weeks in training,’ he said.

Replacements: Barber, Fox, Jenkins, Boscher, Jones, Madey, O’Reilly.

Jersey Junior Select: Ian Burrell, Sean Quéripel, Howard Phillips, Mark Harris, Aaron O’Brien, Owen Woolgar, David Felton (yellow card), Russell Holland (yellow card), Pat Dean (capt), Wayne Boschat, Andrew Blake, Tim de Gruchy (yellow card), Tom Faulkner, Andy Hobbs, Will O’Brien, Ian Tait and Richard Stevens, Mark Le Mottée, Matt Collins, Roy Le Liévre, Paul Kempster.

Coaches: Rad Montgomery, Gareth Davies.

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