Jersey Blitz Nottingham at Meadow Lane
Not since home and away fixtures were introduced to the
league structure twenty years ago have Nottingham won their opening
After all the hard work that earned wins in their first two,
there was high expectation of a history-making afternoon at Meadow
Sadly it was a shocking case of 'back down to earth with a bump'
as the Green and Whites were out-fought and out-played by a decent,
streetwise Jersey side who re-wrote their own record books, their
39-12 win representing their biggest margin of victory since
promotion to the Championship.
The defensive resolve which had seen Nottingham shut out
Plymouth Albion, even when reduced to fourteen men, just a week
earlier was rarely in evidence as they struggled to contain the
In attack their driving game made little impact, and they never
looked like breaking down the Jersey defence.
The tone for the afternoon was set as early as the second
minute. When full back Tommy Bell took a pass just inside the home
half there didn't seem any immediate danger, with at least three
defenders ahead of him. One sidestep later he was racing for the
corner leaving a couple of would-be tacklers in his wake as he
crossed to open the scoring, before adding the conversion on his
That was certainly alarming, but when he repeated it fifteen
minutes later following a kick ahead the silence in the Pavis stand
In between those tries a couple of penalties from Will Maisey
had brought the Green and Whites back to within a point, but as
centre Drew Locke then cut in from the left for a soft try it was
clear that a long afternoon was in prospect.
The nearest Nottingham came to any kind of chance came from a
close range lineout, but Jersey held the drive and the home side
had to be content with another couple of penalties from Maisey to
go in at half time trailing 12-22, with Bell having added a penalty
in the closing couple of minutes.
If that first half had been frustrating enough, the fact that
Maisey's fourth penalty proved to be Nottingham's last score of the
game drew many a worried frown from supporters leaving the ground
forty minutes or so later.
Even Bell's second penalty a couple of minutes after the restart
didn't dampen those supporters' hopes of a fightback, particularly
as the Green and Whites finally got some momentum going to take
play up to the Jersey posts following a close range lineout.
They should have made that count, and after being penalised for
crossing were soon made to pay for not doing so as Jersey quickly
killed the game off.
Two tries in the space of less than four minutes, from winger
Mark Foster and back row man Nick Haining, and both converted by
Bell, left Nottingham trailing by 27 points as the game moved into
the final quarter.
The only further surprise was that there was no addition to that
score over the last twenty minutes, although it was the Green and
Whites who finished slightly the stronger.
Two wins from three still represents a good start for
Nottingham. But there are stronger sides in this year's
Championship than Jersey, and the ease with which they cruised to a
deserved victory has to be more than a little worrying.