After a two-week break, to allow bruised, and tired bodies some well-earned rest and recuperation, Greene King IPA Championship rugby was back with a bang.

Following on from a hard-to-swallow defeat to Hartpury College at home, who snatched victory in the closing seconds of the game, London Scottish made the journey over the channel to Jersey, to get back to winning ways.

Jersey, who were immediately above Scottish in the table (ahead by only a single point), had it tough against league leaders Bristol in their last outing. Having beaten them three times in the last four seasons, hopes were high at the Stade Santander International, but they were blown away in the opening 30 minutes, before coming back to lose a respectable 17-36.

It’d been a gloriously sunny day in Jersey, but under the Friday night lights, it had become bitterly cold and windswept.

The game was quick from the off; Matt Williams, who was back in the side, replacing Nick Scott who picked up an injury against Hartpury, collected the ball in the opening seconds and made off down the wing, only to be pulled down short one metre out.

The referee duly sent Mark Best to the sin bin for illegal entry at the resulting ruck, after only 46 seconds .

Jersey hit back though, and piled on the pressure, forcing Scottish to concede a number of penalties in the opening five minutes.

Brendan Cope took his opportunity and gave the Reds a 0-3 lead after 6 minutes, After 15 minutes, Scottish got the break they wanted. Good interplay from Craig Holland and Charlie Ingallb deep inside the Scottish half lead to an explosive break.

A clever offload from Ingall to Williams created space for him to sprint to the line. Sharp added the conversion from a tight angle, and Scottish found themselves 7-3 up.

Jersey piled more pressure on the Scottish defence, who were forced to concede a number of penalties, one of which Cope easily put away. Twenty minutes in, it was 7-6 to Scottish.

Scottish applied pressure of their own, and almost out of nothing, Chris Walker had the ball in his hands on the 5m line, and smashed his way over the Jersey defence. Sharp couldn’t add the conversion from the far touch-line, but Scottish looked good for their 12-6 lead.

The next twenty minutes of the half were hugely physical for both sides. Back rower Matt Eliet had to make way, and on the stroke of halftime, Jonathan Mills, captaining after Danny Kenny received a three week suspension for a red card against Hartpury, had to head to the sideline too.

In the final moments of the half, Jersey attacked relentlessly down both wings. The Scottish players put their bodies on the line to halt the attacks, but the ref spotted a no-arms tackle from Cringle on Pitman during the huge defensive effort, and sent him to the sin bin. Half time, Scottish 12-6 Jersey, and the Scots were down to 14 men.

The opening minutes of the second half started, as the first half had ended; Jersey put pressure on the Scottish defence, who were, time & again, throwing their bodies into the tackles.

On 47 minutes, a smart catch & drive from Jersey muscled its way over the line, the ball in the hands of Hardy, who dived over the line to score. Cope’s conversion gave jersey a 12-13 lead.

Ten minutes later, Jersey broke through the Scottish defence and made nearly 60m from deep in their own half… a last ditch tackle from Charlie Ingall stopped what would have been a certain try, but the referee deemed it high. For this, Charlie was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.

From that penalty, the Reds went to touch, then tried the catch & drive from the 5m line… this was deemed to have been held up illegally, so they were awarded the penalty try, and Gregor Gillanders was sent to join Ingall in the sin bin. Scottish 12-20 Jersey.

Though down to 13 men, Scottish took their chance to attack from the re-start; Jersey were penalised for not rolling away, so Sharp went for the points, and narrowed Jersey’s lead, 15-20.

The final 15 minutes was set up to be edge-of-your-seat rugby. Both sides went looking for the killer blow, and moved the ball through the hands, and kept the ball in play as much as possible. It was fast paced, attacking rugby from both teams.

Scottish had chances to score; clever footwork from Sharp put him through, but he was dragged down a metre short by a high tackle. Interestingly no yellow card was give. Scottish went for touch & tried and catch & drive… this was held up illegally, and Godfrey saw yellow. Scottish went through the phases, just 1m out, but couldn’t get any further, and eventually knocked on.

Both teams attacked in the final 5 minutes, but the tired bodies on both sides struggled to put many phases together. In the end, Jersey were strong enough to hold out for the win, final score, London Scottish 15-20 Jersey Reds.