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Brave Nottingham Pipped at the Post

Nottingham Rugby suffered a third consecutive defeat in the Greene King IPA Championship as they went down 22-19 at home to Jersey.

The Green and Whites were much improved from the previous week and the defeat to London Scottish, however playing 30 minutes of the match a man down told in the end.

Yellow cards at scrum time for Michael Holford, Campese Ma'afu and Ryan Bower took their toll and Jersey made the advantage tell as they came from behind to construct a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Credit to Nottingham for managing the periods with fewer players well and staying well within reach of claiming victory despite being at a numerical disadvantage.

Nottingham could have snatched a draw when a late penalty was awarded wide on the right in the Jersey 22 as the match moved into stoppage time.  However the brave decision to go for the try and the win ultimately proved unsuccessful.

Martin Haag can be very proud of the application and commitment shown by his players and the character displayed in refusing to accept defeat.

A losing bonus point was scant reward for their efforts, but they now have time to re-group ahead of the British and Irish Cup break.


Full Match Report by Andi Starr

A difficult second half spell saw Nottingham slip to a third straight defeat, and a second consecutive defeat on home soil.

Having had the better of the first half, and worked hard to build a slender lead, they fell behind as Jersey grew in confidence in the second period to force a narrow 22-19 win.

And having dealt with losing prop Michael Holford to the sin bin early in that second half, two more front row sin-binnings in quick succession, for Campese Ma'afu and replacement prop Ryan Bower, left the Green and Whites struggling to cope with Jersey's rejuvenated pack.

Even then they forced a couple of penalties in injury time that could have seen them force a draw, but elected to try and win the game by kicking to touch only to lose control of the ball.

A minute's silence was observed before the game in memory of Andy Grogan and Ian McMurdo, two club stalwarts who have put a lot into Nottingham Rugby over the years.

A fine start saw the Green and Whites almost break through down the left, but brought a penalty for Matt Jarvis to open the scoring.

Jersey's restart kick went straight into touch, but although Nottingham mounted a promising attack from the resulting scrum, they knocked on and Jersey were able to clear.

They kept play in the visitors' half though and a second penalty gave Jarvis the chance to double the lead, but he was off target.

A charged down clearance kick put them under pressure for the first time in the game, and when they were penalised at their own scrum just outside their 22 Niall O'Connor slotted over the kick to level the scores midway through the first half.

Minutes later though, on-loan winger Tom Chapman showed excellent pace to leave the defence for dead and race in for a fine individual try, with Jarvis making it 10-3 with the conversion.

A second penalty from O'Connor made it 10-6, while a third kick hit the outside of the posts on the half hour.

Nottingham hit back to force another penalty for Jarvis just before half time, but an injury time kick form O'Connor made it 13-9 at the break.

Tom Calladine showed his pace as he led a charge out of defence in the opening minutes of the second half to set up a good attack which brought another penalty for Jarvis, and a yellow card for Jersey flanker Joe Buckle.

He was quickly followed by Holford, with O'Connor making it 16-12 with his fourth kick of the day.

Within minutes the visitors were in front as winger Mark McRea burst through to touch down alongside the posts, giving O'Connor a simple conversion.

They almost forced a second as a chip over the defence caused a few problems.

Replacement Rory Lynn hit back with a penalty for the Green and Whites, but then came the double sin-binning in a farcical passage that looked as though it might end with a penalty try for Jersey.

Somehow the Nottingham defence clung on through a series of reset scrums and eventually managed to clear their lines.

They powered forward in injury time in search of the try that would bring victory, but despite spurning a couple of kickable penalties they had to settle for a losing bonus point.


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