On an overcast and chilly January afternoon Coventry welcomed Jersey Reds to the BPA, as they went in search of another win in front of another bumper home crowd.
Perhaps owing to the weather, both sides took a while to warm-up following kick-off as neither could fashion any clear-cut chances in the opening 15 minutes of play. The next 15 minutes were marked by multiple line breaks from each team, with both defences recovering well on each occasion to regroup, and, often, force a knock-on. The stop-start nature of the game was broken by a few spells of prolonged Coventry possession, as we began to find an attacking rhythm and threatened our visitors’ try line for the first time.
Just before halftime however, it was the Islanders who struck first; arguably against the run of play. Following a scrum in the centre of the park, Tomi Lewis raced down the wing before feeding centre Jordon Colgate who was brought down. Our visitors worked the ball wide from the ruck, and Ben Woollett went over in the railway corner. (0-5)
It was Coventry who came out of the blocks the strongest in the second half. Jordon Poole made a break through the Reds’ defensive line in midfield, and, following a few phases, we were over the line. Unfortunately, the ball was adjudged to have been spilt over, and so the Coventry attack would have to build again.
It would not take them long though. 5 minutes later, from line-out ball after a Jersey infringement, Cov would power their way over with a driving maul, and Tom Dodd was the one to emerge clutching the ball, and claiming the score. Pellegrini’s conversion attempt faded just wide. (5-5)
10 minutes later, Cov were in again. James Martin rode a couple of tackles well on the wing, before being brought down by an
excellent Jersey covering tackle. From the resulting ruck, the ball bounced loose, and it was Will Chudley who was the first to react as he smartly put Josh Bainbridge through a hole to go over the whitewash. This time, Pellegrini added the extras. (12-5)
With 70 minutes on the clock, Cov struck again. From a lineout on the visitors’ 22m we sprung a set play and Chudley found Poole, who raced through a gap and round the last defender to crash over. Pellegrini made no mistake from the tee. (19-5)
The Reds wouldn’t be beaten though, as with only 5 minutes left they scored their first of 2 late tries. From a scrum 5m out from the Cov line, the Jersey forward pack got the shove on, and Tom Grey dotted down. Bennett’s conversion added the 2 from in front of the posts. (19-12)
With just 1 minute left, our visitors got their 2nd. Awarded another 5m scrum, the Reds’ pack got the shove on again and the referee went under the posts, signalling for a penalty try. (19-19)
With the clock in the red, Cov had one last go at retaking the lead, but were thwarted by a James Scott turnover.
FULL TIME: 19-19
Thank you to all the home supporters that came out to the game, as well as to our visitors from Jersey. We look forward to welcoming you back to the BPA in 3 weeks time, as we face Doncaster, in the Championship Cup, on the 4th February.