HARVEY BILJON was left adamant that officials in charge of Jersey Reds’ Boxing Day clash away to Bedford cost his side dearly.
Two sin bins in the space of 60 seconds proved critical at Goldington Road as the Islanders suffered the ignominy of not claiming any league points for the first time this season.
The 28-19 defeat frustrated hopes that Jersey could end the calendar year on top of the Championship. Instead, they slipped to third with Doncaster Knights jumping above them and Ealing Trailfinders.
It completed a tough festive trip for the professional outfit, who had to fly on the morning of the game and were beset by travel issues which led to kick-off being delayed by 20 minutes.
Despite that, and going behind early on, three tries by hooker Eoghan Clarke – making him the joint top try scorer in the league, with ten – got the Reds into the lead, only for all the effort to be undone.
A beleaguered Biljon, Reds’ director of rugby, said: ‘We had been called “not straight” in the lineout, then the referee [George Selwood] let one go and that ended up being a penalty kicked to the corner, two yellow cards and they took a score with us left with only 13 men.
‘I don’t thing either infringements were yellow cards but, obviously when you’re away from home and there’s an intimidating crowd, referees can buckle. He buckled today.
‘The critical moments were down to the referee. We need a review of them, see if they’re right and if there is anything we can do. We have to make sure in future referees don’t influence games as much as [Selwood] did.
‘Bedford had numerous warnings around the maul and, even though we were scoring, nothing was happening by the referee. We have to take that out of the referee’s hands.’
Full report and reaction in Wednesday’s JEP.