Having lost only one game so far this season, they are currently on top and firm favourites to take the trophy having beaten Les Quennevais last week and a strong JRFC’s 2nds team this.They deserved their win.
Unofficial ‘coach’, Harry Swift said that the difference between the teams was the Beeches’ hunger for the game.
They wanted to win it more than the 2nds, although the club side had their chances and should have scored on more than one occasion when they had overlaps, or the line at their mercy – but stopped short.How their right winger failed to score midway through the second half when he was a yard out with the line at his mercy only he will know; how the 2nds knocked on, or went backwards with their over-intricate passing in the threes only they will know; but having said that, the Beeches deserved their win.They went ahead early in the first half when a forward drive assisted Dominic Winch over the line.Not too long after that Jersey’s No 10, Phil Walker, converted a penalty, but in a contrast of styles Beeches were pressurising the home side in the scrum while Jersey, in the threes, had their moments.The 2nds weren’t helped when scrum-half Arnou Helmholt-Kneisel and the influential Paul Maltby limped off, injured, but they still had 75 per cent of possession which they just couldn’t use to cross the line.Instead Beeches went 10-3 ahead following a superb break by Brett Ireland who raced away from his own half, beat two tackles and then fed Gary Osbourne from 15 yards out, who scooted over.Peter Stockley missed the kick but Beeches were now a score and a conversion in front.
It was up to the 2nds’ XV to haul themselves back into the match.They tried, but while the 2nds were over-elaborating, or playing like 15 individuals rather than a team, the Beeches’ spirit was exemplified by Peter Stockley barking out his orders from No 10 and driving his men on.For 20 minutes they defended their line and then, with five minutes remaining, their pack came into their own.They hustled Jersey back into the left-hand corner; their front three took it in turn to run at the opposition, and eventually Jim Brimelow touched down beneath weary 2nds’ players who had no answer to the Beeches’ huge desire to win this game.Although Stockley missed the conversion, the full-time whistle was only a minute away and the looks on the Beeches’ players’ faces said it all.
At times they might be naive, but in terms of fighting spirit, they are the No 1 club in the Island at the moment.While Beeches march on, Les Quennevais look to turn their topsy-turvy season into some kind of order.Two weeks ago they thrashed a decent St Jacques’ side in a display which a former Hampshire referee described as ‘one of the best performances, at any level, I’ve seen in years’.The week after that they lost to Beeches and are now in third place in the league, ahead of Jersey 2nds, with their 34-5 win against Jersey Wanderers, on Sunday, showing they can play half-decent rugby .
in fits and starts.Their first try came almost from the start, when big Curtis Hudson – currently averaging a mere two games a season – took decent ball from the pack to power over.The next score was a rarity, as Gary Rousseau dropped a goal to make it 10-0, before the Les Quennevais pack gave good ball to the threes which allowed winger Mark Gilham to score the first of his three tries during the afternoon.In between times, and before the end of the first half, Neil Livingstone took the score back to 17-5, but a depleted Wanderers’s team, missing five players from those selected and with ony two beneath the age of 40, had no answer to Les Quennevais who went on to win with those two other Gilham tries, plus another one from Hudson and three conversions by Rousseau.It was an untidy game, and although the best team won, the real winners, in terms of spirit, enthusiasm and possible end-of-the-season table toppers, are Beeches.Not only do they keep on winning; they actually look like they are enjoying the game .