Nottingham Rugby put in a performance to remember when they beat Jersey Reds 24-20 at The Bay in their final home game of the 2018/19 Greene King IPA Championship.
After controlling the majority of the first half, Jersey came back fighting in the second but their efforts were thwarted by an incredibly strong Green and White’s defence.
A tight game in beautiful conditions at The Bay made for excellent watching for the neutrals as two strong sides fought hard for victory.
Nottingham got the game underway and very quickly got on the front foot, dominating the ball deep in Jersey territory and scoring a try on the 12th minute.
The Green and Whites had a penalty advantage inside the Jersey 22, O’Leary threw a long pass wide out to Jack Spittle who ran over the line to give his team an early lead. O’Leary’s subsequent conversion was unsuccessful but he made up for it minutes later when he scored a penalty.
8-0 up, Nottingham looked to kick on but Jersey were finding their way into the match. Brett Herron scored a penalty of his own moments later and Jersey registered their first points of the game.
However, the Green and Whites were enjoying more of the ball and, in what was a very similar try to their opening score, O’Leary threw a ball out wide to David Williams who ran through the Reds defence to slide over the whitewash. O’Leary converted and Nottingham led 15-3.
The remainder of the half was very tight, as Jersey tried to establish a foothold in the game and Nottingham rebuffed their advances. Fowkes’ men’s efforts were rewarded once more with a penalty that O’Leary neatly slotted away to give Nottingham an 18-3 lead.
Jersey then sparked a comeback when they scored at the tail end of the first half, Herron’s conversion missed and the sides left the field with Nottingham winning 18-8.
The second half began and was incredibly close from the off. Jersey looked revitalised and pushed hard against the Nottingham defence.
Scoring two tries in quick succession, it looked like the away team might just turn the game around.
But Nottingham showed resolve, tenacity and togetherness to withstand the Reds’ advances.
Ultimately, two penalties from Shane O’Leary would push Nottingham ahead and give them the victory they had fought so hard for.
Attendance – 1307.