'Brave' Jersey Reds set club record with nine-try win

HARVEY BILJON was pleased to see his players released from their ‘shells’ as Jersey Reds set a new club record with a nine-try triumph over Championship strugglers Nottingham.

Brendan Owen scored a hat-trick for Jersey Reds as they secured a club-record Championship win Picture: DAVID FERGUSON
Brendan Owen scored a hat-trick for Jersey Reds as they secured a club-record Championship win Picture: DAVID FERGUSON

The Islanders coasted to their heaviest league win since becoming a professional outfit – just seven days after suffering their largest Championship defeat, at the hands of Ealing Tralifinders.

Brendan Owen (three), Jack Macfarlane, Matti Williams, Max Green, Ollie Dawe, Jack Roberts and Dan Barnes all crossed the whitewash on Saturday afternoon to register the first XV’s biggest league win since a 64-0 hammering of Tynedale on 31 March 2012, when Jersey RFC was on its way to claiming the National One title and promotion to the second tier of English rugby. Guy Thompson, now at Ealing via Wasps and Leicester Tigers, scored four tries that day, alongside touchdowns for David Felton, Nick Trower, Dave McCormack, James Copsey, Donovan Sanders, Jethro Rawling and Glenn Bryce.

The class of 2021 could not quite match that 11-try bonanza on the Reds’ first home outing of the season but the bonus-point victory will perhaps be remembered more fondly by the club’s core supporters given the superior level of rugby now played. And, more notably, given that they were there to see it.

An official total of 1,031 passed through the gates to witness their side play live for the first time since Jersey hosted Newcastle Falcons on 29 February 2020. It was a 420-day stint tarnished by uncertainty but director of rugby Biljon was keen to guarantee one thing, at least.

That his squad would put on a display worth watching.

‘It all came together in one today, with the supporters being here,’ said Biljon post-match, as his players huddled on the pitch and raised the roof with a collective, celebratory cheer.

‘We had spoken about our “go-forward” and about expressing ourselves, being brave ... going all out. I think we did that. We didn’t want to go into our shells because we know we’re a good team.

‘You have to spare a thought for Nottingham because we know how tough it is to travel in and out on the same day – something we’ve done for the last five weeks on the bounce – but our players have been training hard this week and they got their reward.'

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