RUGBY UNION: ROLAND Winter remained upbeat about his Coventry side on Saturday, despite the club suffering it first defeat of pre-season in Jersey.
Coventry lost 26-17 against their Championship hosts, though fought back in the second half to reduce what was a 16 point deficit.
A converted injury-time try in the first half brought Coventry right back into the contest after initially being slow off the mark.
Prior to the comeback, Pete White was hauled down within a whisker of opening the scoring in the left corner following a break by Heath Stevens on seven minutes.
Three penalties in quick succession cost Coventry though as Jersey flanker Seb Nagla-Taylor crossed the line for an unconverted try.
Jersey extended their lead to 12 points when Ross Adair crossed the line in the left corner while Brendan Cope converted, making the score 12-0.
Maisey registered Coventry’s first points with a penalty attempt from 40 metres before Kieran Hardy scored the hosts third try.
Scott Tolmie brought Coventry back into the game on the stroke of half time though as Maisey’s conversion left the scores at 19-10.
Winter’s men had the first chance of the second half, but Jersey held out a series of pick and go’s before adding to their lead on 46 minutes with a penalty.
But that was to be the last time Jersey scored as a resilient Coventry side defended strongly under pressure while building momentum up front.
Added pressure led to a try for Harry Morley as Coventry ended the game nine points short, a huge 33 point improvement from last year’s friendly.
Roland Winter said: “We’ve got things to tidy up, but it’s a good platform for us to kick on and I’m definitely happy with a nine-point loss away from home against a strong side.
“We’re disappointed our lack of accuracy in their 22 saw us bomb a number of chances early on and in the second half. We need to complete those but it’s rustiness in a game situation.
“The unforced errors in terms of knock-ons as the game went on is a sign of where we are in pre-season and I’m happy that will tidy itself up.
“We gave Jersey a foothold in the first half by conceding two or three on the trot which led to opportunities for them and that’s something we need to cut out.
“But overall as the game went on I felt Jersey tired, allowing us to find space and go at them – so that’s a positive.”
Coventry are next in action on Saturday at the Butts Park Arena, facing Broadstreet (12.30pm) and Sale (3pm) in two consecutive matches.