15th July 2019, 09:06 | north_west_mens
Despite an inconsistent performance and a dogged second half from the home side, the Lionhearts pick up a convincing 42-6 win over Kingston and St Andrews Reds in the second full game on their trip to Jamaica.
This game was expected to be a sterner test for the tourists than their first on the island, given their status as the reigning champions of the Jamaican State of Origin equivalent the Parish of Residence.
However, the Lionhearts once again started with intensity from the off that their hosts could not match. Within three minutes they were over the line when Phil Mitchell put Greg Wilde through for a score down the right.
Then followed a relative period of settled play with the Jamaican defence lifting themselves a little and keeping the Lionhearts at bay for ten minutes. The English though, did eventually add another try from Nathan Sneesby. The ball was worked left through hands well, following some good scramble defence which kept out Jack Sproat on the right before Sneesby scored.
The tourists then notched up scores through Darryl King - who combined well with Greg Wilde after Deane Meadows won the race to his own kick - and Sneesby again who hit a hole at speed down the left and broke through the line. After one kick was added it was 18-0 after 20 minutes, but some more skill and clever rugby was needed to break down the Reds than their previous opponents.
Just as it looked as though Jamaican heads were about to drop, the crowd and spirit on the field was given a huge lift as Miguel Facey went over just to the left of the sticks for a Kingston score. Kick-off defence had caused a couple of problems for the English with the strong wing and altitude giving the ball an element of unpredictability. Here it bounced strangely off Darryl King to Akeem Murray who made good yards upfield before putting Facey through and Michael Pearson added the extras. Kingston took their chance incredibly well after the ball bounced their way and showed just how dangerous they can be in attack if given the opportunity.
The Lionhearts however, responded as well as you could ask for. Very quickly following the restart Phil Mitchell went over, and was shortly followed by Sneesby bringing us to half time at 28-6.
Once again, the second half began with the English team going over very quickly. It was Sproat this time scoring down the right after some good covering defence prevented the tourists on the opposite flank. The visitors then added another another shortly after through Jordan Penny on the left, who just showed too much power for his man and forced his way over the line.
To their great credit, the Parish of Residence winners responded to this by lifting their game once again, both in defence and attack. The Reds began to show some more composure going forward by being patient and completing a few sets. They were chasing the kicks down well and stifling any opportunity for a good return. Their defence also held strong for twenty minutes and forced a few errors, aided of course by the rain which began to fall, and soon made it tough for both sides to keep the ball off the deck.
As a rainbow framed the Blue Mountains from pitchside and the floodlights flicked on, there was time left for one more score. The Lionhearts broke the impasse with a try from Robbie Lindley who was put free in space down the left and added a little sheen to the result in a game in which it was made difficult for the tourists to find any rhythm.
All focus now shifts to Saturday's Test Match when the Lionhearts return to UWI Mona Bowl to face Jamaica A and close out the tour. Kick-Off is at 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 pm UK.
Kingston and St Andrews Reds: Akeem Murray, Romario Bartley, Peter Tapper, Jason Creeden, Daniel Graham, Linval Green, Sheldon Kelly, Daniel Barnett, Kile Nembhard, Chawn Henry, Michael Pearson, Cantes Wilmot, Texin Dixon; Andrew Dixon, Jade Harrison, Miguel Facey
Tries: Miguel Facey
Goals: Michael Pearson (1/1)
North West English Lionhearts: Jack McHugh, Nathan Sneesby, Jordan Penny, Greg Wilde, Jack Sproat, Deane Meadows, Darryl King, Adam Robinson, Phil Woolacott, Rick Ackers, Phil Mitchell, Greg Walker, Adam Rosser; Owain Abel, Robbie Lindley, Sam Lewis, Ste McDermott, Ryan Ashall, Danny Brown, John Moore, Matt Hewlett, Adam Levin
Tries: Greg Wilde, Nathan Sneesby (3), Darryl King, Philip Mitchell, Jack Sproat, Jordan Penny, Robbie Lindley
Goals: Darryl King (0/2), Deane Meadows (2/3), Owain Abel (1/3)
Referee: Kemoy Whyte (Jamaica)
Touch Judges: Ricardo Bramwell, Hyundai Williams (Jamaica)