Reds Women put on a show, but Greens rule again
JERSEY’S search for Siam Cup honours goes on after a powerful Guernsey outfit deservedly recorded their eighth inter-island victory in a row on Saturday – but the Reds are undeniably narrowing the gap.
The power of individuals such as No 8 Tanya Scholtz eventually won through in a contest that both sides can take enormous credit from. Although Guernsey dominated territory the scoreline was tight until the closing stages when late scores punished Jersey rather more than they deserved to be. The hosts finished 22-5 down.
The die was set early on with play exclusively in the Jersey half, eventually ending with a penalty try for the visitors, following a line-out move in the Airport Corner. If Jersey needed reminding of the size of the task ahead, the early seven-point deficit did the trick.
Jersey have enjoyed their best season to date after returning to league action and have improved immensely, with some sparkling back play being an outstanding feature. Although undoubtedly hampered by the absence of captain and regular stand-off Lauren Lowe, they fielded a host of dangerous runners.
One of them, playing at No 10 instead of her usual position at centre, was Sophie Lee and she raised home hopes with a spectacular solo score after ten minutes, searing away from challenges on a diagonal run towards the Pavilion Corner. Great effort, with the conversion going just wide from Kim Vallance.
The score awakened Guernsey to the reality that they faced a real battle and during a break to treat an injured Jersey player – the dangerous Emily Hart having to be carried off, her day over – the Sarnians’ Vicki Rang barked some stern orders.
Jersey were further hampered when winger Taye Boakye-Yiadom was sin-binned for a high tackle. Another to have had an impressive season, she suffered from a lack of space and opportunity as Guernsey got down to work.
Despite that, Jersey’s backs appeared to hold the greater threat as half time approached, although defensive work was earnest from both sides. The Reds’ line can certainly be proud of repelling a fiercesome late surge from the the Guernsey forwards just before the whistle.
Guernsey, for whatever reason, looked an altogether more impressive and confident outfit after the turnaround, with Laura Sweeney’s early break setting the tone.
Scholtz, the undoubted star of the day, dived over to extend the visitors’ lead to seven points ( 12-5) and they grew in confidence as the half played out. Keeping a close eye on Lee, Roxy Rice and Rosie Corbett et al, with the near instant compression of space severely restricting Jersey’s hopes of building momentum, particularly as the incidence of handling errors rose.
Victory was effectively sealed with a try from tall winger Carly Duchemin on the left, her inside course leaving two defenders clutching thin air after she had initially rolled a would-be tackler some 30 metres out.
The jitters of the first half hour seemed behind Guernsey now and they were in no mood to relinquish their grip on the game – though Jersey heads never dropped. When a lineout was cleanly taken in the Pavilion Corner the ball was worked off the back of a maul and Scholtz sidestepped a couple of challenges to dive over.
Full report in Monday's Final Whistle.
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