Gallant Nottingham Beaten By Reds

Nottingham 31-41 Jersey Reds (RFU Championship) 04.02.22

On the eve of the six nations championships, Nottingham Rugby were beaten at Lady Bay after a delayed start to proceedings last night by Jersey who go top of the RFU Championship, but credit the Green & Whites who gave the league leaders a real push all the way before suffering their eleventh defeat in fourteen matches this season.

With no ambulance on site at the venue the match was pushed back 41 minutes and with Nottingham still in the dressing rooms as the Referee finally kicked off proceedings, it seemed the match would be heading just one way after a dominant start by the visitors.

The away side were two tries up in the opening five minutes as they looked to leapfrog Ealing Trailfinders at the top. Inside a minute Olofowela went over after a strong attacking start by the islanders before Longwell doubled the score on five, van Breda kicking successfully his second conversion after missing the first attempt of the night.

Nottingham’s reply was instant however as Carl Allen grabbed his first try for the Archers on eight minutes with Bunting kicking over the extras to narrow the visitors early defecit.

Doolan then made it 17-7 in Jersey’s favour going over before another missed conversion, Nottingham responded with winger Graham racing down the touchline with speed to beat off a fending tackle and touch over.

With the cold chilling wind playing havoc for the kickers, Bunting missed his conversion before Jersey made it 22-12 after the half hour with another try this time through Brown, again the kick for extras went wide of the posts.

Nottingham had to fend off more pressure from the away side late on in the first half and looked relieved to get in at just a ten-point deficit.

Within a minute of the second half though, Jersey increased their control as Doolan dived over for his second of the night, van Breda this time adding the extras to give the Reds a 17-point cushion.

The home side kept going with battle and pride which has often been shown with courage this season and Williams raced over following a decent bit of play on 48 with Bunting adding two more points with his conversion before Jersey four minutes later got their fifth try of the evening with Will Brown chasing down a cross field kick to race home before another failed kick for extras. A real ding dong encounter the match was becoming.

Bunting then went over as Nottingham got their own bonus point for a fourth try although his touchdown in the corner made it difficult to kick the extras, missing again he redeemed himself after Toby Williams went over on 76 which set up a tense finish, Jersey with four minutes remaining just four points up.

But the away side are at the right end of the table for a reason, a late try from White saw van Breda convert and kill off any fightback that Craig Hammond’s team had, a ten-point win for the Reds but lots to be optimistic about for Nottingham who pushed hard particularly in the second half.

Nottingham are back at the Bay on Friday night as they take on Coventry who are eighth, two places above the Archers in the table but with a whopping eleven point difference, a win might narrow the gap on those above but more importantly could increase that on the side below, as they look to avoid getting in to a dogfight with bottom placed London Scottish.

Starting Team: Toby WIlliams, Archie Vanes, Ben Betts, Scott Hall, Callum Allen, George Cox, Nathan Tweedy, Josh Poullet, Matt Marsh, Morgan Bunting, Harry Graham, Will Simonds, Charlie Thacker, David Williams, Jack Stapley.

Replacements: Jake Farnworth, Aniseko Sio, Josh McNulty, Jack Ramshaw, Lewis Barrett, Michael Stronge, Sam Hollingsworth, James Peachey.

*Main image @NottinghamRugby Toby Williams in action with one try on the night for him.

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