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Tussle for third spot on a knife edge

Rugby | Published:

AFTER an Easter weekend that was decisive at both ends of the Greene King IPA Championship, the Blues v Reds battle for third place remains in the balance.

Championship rugby, Nottingham v Jersey Reds 19 February 2019 at Lady Bay, Jersey lose 24-20. Assorted action pics of Will Homer, Hatherell, Brett Heron, Leroy Van Dam, Jason Worrall, Harvey Biljon, Connor Joyce, Leeroy Atalifo, Rory Bartle Picture: OSKAR PAPIERZ (24462775)

While Jersey are guaranteed to beat their previous best Championship finish of fifth, the Reds will need a point more than Bedford, who host Nottingham this Saturday, to overtake the Blues on points difference and seize third place.

With Bedford well beaten by Ealing on Saturday, Harvey Biljon's side narrowed the deficit with their losing bonus in defeat by 24-20 at Nottingham on Friday; but the visitors had hoped for more, and their director of rugby was disappointed that a second-half fightback saw his side fall just short.

'We always seem to have tough battles with here,' he said, after Nottingham gained their first home win over the Reds in four attempts since moving to Lady Bay from Meadow Lane in 2015. 'Credit to them for the win, but we feel a bit aggrieved – there were five scrum penalties on the bounce in the second half, so we think there was a case for a penalty try.

'The players were pretty composed at half-time, and they battled hard, but ultimately they had given themselves too much to do. It shouldn't detract from a pretty successful season, but we want to finish with a win when we host Coventry in our last game.'

Biljon also admitted frustration with the first half yellow card for centre Apakuki Ma'afu, with the Reds conceding ten points during this spell. 'What can we do? Let's move on,' he said.

Full report and reaction in Tuesday's Final Whistle.

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