Any repeat of the indiscipline showed during a 32-26 loss to Doncaster Knights at Castle Park on Saturday could be fatal in the home clash against the ambitious and big spenders from the Midlands.
Replacement hooker TJ Harris and centre Mark Best both received yellow cards in the second half which were expensive as they allowed Doncaster to seize the initiative in an entertaining contest that was a credit to the skills in the Championship.
Harris’s sin binning on 63 minutes could not have been more poorly timed as the Reds were leading 19-15 following their third try by second row Kyle Hatherell, who sprinted down the touchline to score.
With one more man Doncaster’s strong pack created two tries, both of which were converted, for lock Matt Challinor who was driven over, and by scrum half Tom James, who dashed through from a scrum in Jersey’s 22.
Doncaster, second best in terms of possession and territory in the first half, were now in control at 29-19 in a close match.
Sadly from the Reds’ point of view, this ill-discipline continued when Best was sent off for ten minutes in the 79th. With their opponents down to 14 men for the second time, Doncaster punished them again as fly half Sam Olver put over his second penalty to stretch the Yorkshire side’s advantage.
Any hopes that Jersey would add to their four tries were ended as the Knights defended effectively during injury time to prevent the visitors breaking through again.
After three games in the Championship Cup, Jersey, in Pool 2, are third on seven points. Newcastle top the group on 14, Doncaster are second with ten and Hartpury sit bottom without any reward.
Full report and reaction in Monday’s JEP.