Watched by 1,336 supporters on a warm, sunny afternoon at Stade Santander International, the home side showed a resolve to develop a lead and hold onto it, in spite of a late flourish by the visitors.
After a Brendan Cope penalty midway through the first half to open the scoring, Tom Williams claimed the first try of the day courtesy of a soaring catch near halfway, getting up and racing 45 metres to the line.
The Pirates struck back through Pat Schickerling’s close-range effort and then each side scored a further try apiece in the closing stages: Eoghan Clarke from a maul for the Reds and then AJ Cant for the Pirates to make it 17-10 at the break.
After repelling some early Pirate raids soon after the break, the Reds forwards began to turn the screw and marched up the field through a series of penalties and lineout drives that eventually saw Pirates’ skipper Tom Duncan sin-binned for collapsing a maul. Soon afterwards the Reds struck as Scott Van Breda raced through a midfield gap to the line.
After the Pirates scored a mauled try through Dan Frost, converted to make the score 24-17, the game appeared done and dusted when Cope slotted another penalty and Jack Macfarlane claimed a second mauled try for the Jersey pack to stretch the lead to 32-17. There were some late heart flutters for those watching as Shae Tucker and Rhodri Davies scored tries to earn their team two points and a final shot at victory. But Jersey pressed forward with renewed determination and were able to finish the job and send the crowd home happy.