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Nottingham 12 vs Jersey 39 - Match Report

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 three games.

Jersey 2014 Match Report


After all the hard work that earned wins in their first two, there was high expectation of a history-making afternoon at Meadow Lane.

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 visitors.

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 'wrong' side.

That was certainly alarming, but when he repeated it fifteen minutes later following a kick ahead the silence in the Pavis stand was deafening.

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.