By John Wilkinson, Coventry Telegraph.
April 24 2012
COVENTRY failed by some way to produce the big finish they wanted in front of their best home crowd of the season as Jersey powered inexorably to the National League One title.
With 1,558 fans inside the Butts Park Arena – the highest they have had in two years at this level – Cov led briefly in the opening exchanges, but after that were largely outclassed in every department by a Jersey side clearly on a mission
Cov’s scrum, so dominant in previous weeks, was the one under the cosh this time, and scrappy possession from that source was compounded by a malfunctioning line-out, charged-down kicks and turnover ball.
On a day when Cov needed to be at their best, they were far from it, and while their defensive effort was at times heroic, it was never going to be enough against a strong, experienced pack and a dangerous set of running backs.
As throughout the season, Cov’s commitment and spirit could not be faulted, and when they went in at the break just 13-6 down, hope remained of an upset, but they couldn’t life their game sufficiently to get any closer and Jersey’s supporters were celebrating long before the final whistle.
“We were outmuscled and outplayed by a better side,” conceded rugby director Phil Maynard. “It showed where we are and what we have to aspire to.
“We were defending for most of the game, and pressure leads to mistakes, but when you overthrow the line-out and lose the ball in contact the way we did, you are not going to win.
“But we have to remember that we are still a young squad that is developing. The boys will pick themselves up for the last game at Cinderford and will want to finish in a high note before we all have to put our minds firmly towards next season.”
Playing into the wind, Cov drew first blood after five minutes through a well-struck Mark O’Connor penalty from 42 metres, but the lead lasted just three minutes before Ross Broadfoot equalised with a kick from inside the home 22.
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