After winning the Hampshire Bowl last year, they played their first Hampshire Plate game at Les Quennevais on Sunday to such good effect that within the first ten minutes the game was as good as over.Three tries, all scored on the right-hand side of the pitch, gave them a 15-0 lead which was to grow and grow the longer that St Jacques became disenchanted, the more that Les Quennevais turned the screw.It wasn’t that the visitors were a bad side, either.
To their credit, they scored the last try of the match when Matt Channings touched down, taking a decent ball from the line-out on the right of the pitch in the 81st minute to steamroll his way past a sloppy defence.
Richard Fyfe converted, but the damage – huge damage – had already been done.For, 79 minutes earlier, Dave Marsh on the wing had scored the first try, within two minutes of kick-off, before going on to make it a hat-trick.And captain Nick Durbano, looking fitter and leaner after a month away working for a charity in Africa, led by example by scoring three tries thanks to the good work of a bustling pack.Meanwhile a newcomer to the side, Matt Smith, proved his class by running cleverly into space.He, too, scored three tries, but while some of the forwards were powering down on the St Jacques’ line, through brute force, his hat-trick came by intelligent running as the threes and back row played him into so much space that he was able to run through a St Jacques’ defence that just didn’t want to know.His third try, just after the break, was an example of quick hands from virtually everyone in the team before he ran the final 25 yards to the line.And by now St Jacques were being hopelessly outplayed.
Andy Morgan scored once and could have scored another if he hadn’t been pulled down close to the line.
Will Church, at scrum-half, scored an opportunist try within the first ten minutes of play.Fly-half Iain Robertson scored and also slotted over three conversions, before, in the second half, a rather portly Simon Gilley scored two tries and made another two for the players around him.With tries coming from Roy Le Lièvre and Darren O’Brien this was a hugely convincing win for Les Quennevais, who now have the choice of playing away or inviting their next mainland opposition to travel to Jersey.The score flattered the home side because St Jacques do have some talented players.
But to go 15-0 down so early in the game meant they were playing catch-up rugby for the next 75 minutes.On this evidence, Les Quennevais will be rubbing their hands for the next game in this Hampshire competition.
However, they were only tested once, in the dying minutes.
Against a bigger, fitter pack, they might struggle.
Then again, last year they had to make many changes but still managed to beat mainland teams which, on paper, should have beaten them hollow.Other weekend result: Emeraude Lines, JRA League: Wanderers 41, Jersey 2nds 23.