The Army travelled to Jersey at relatively short notice for an excellent fixture against a Jersey club that had not too long ago fought its way into the Championship. On the night the Islanders were reinforced by a few of the professional squad. For the Army it was mightily worth the trip.
Prior to the match there was a nice ceremonial touch as both teams were introduced to General Sir John McColl, the Island’s Lieutenant-Governor, who has succeeded General Sir Mike Wilkes—an Army cap in the good old days!
Jersey opened with a short range try to the posts. Fly half James Dixon (RE) responded with a penalty and then declined a second opportunity to attack. A Jersey interception almost led to a second run-away score but great cover defence hauled down Joel Dudley after a 50m gallop.
The second half started at great pace with attack and counter-attack ranging the length of the St Peter Stadium. Successive pressure waves led to a series of penalties as the Army started to throw off its sea legs. A deft little chip from lock and skipper Darrel Ball (shall we all think about that one ?? ) allowed Tams Tamatawale (RLC) to cross in the corner. Dixon slotted for the extras from the touchline.
The Army then upped the ante, attacked ‘sevens style’ and after a half dozen pairs of hands Dixon scored and converted. By this time Dave Heads (PWRR) making his first start for the Army at scrum half, had picked up the pace and was making his mark as a ‘poss’ for the Training Camp
Yet another interception almost spelt disaster but the Reds regrouped sufficiently for Luke Robinson (RA) to go over. Darius Hamilton (REME), replacement prop, scored in the closing minutes with just time for Dixon to lift his personal tally to 16 pts. Hamilton has come into the reckoning late in the day but he is a solid number and has shown that he is not afraid to carry the ball.
“We are very grateful to Jersey for the way they picked up the baton and provided an excellent match and social event” said senior coach Andy Sanger. “It was a very rewarding game, testing our defence and allowing opportunities for forwards and backs to have a run. It was an unscheduled opportunity to let the players unwind—a bit—because from here on in until late on 9 May it is going to be hard graft”.