9:51am Friday 20th January 2012
By Graham Moody
Rosslyn Park may have lost their unbeaten run and top-of-the-table status, but Jan Bonney has warned champions-elect Jersey there is still a long way to go in the National One title race.
The Channel Islanders made it 13 wins in a row on Saturday as they narrowly beat Park 20-18 in front of a mammoth 3,648 crowd to take the lead in the promotion race and leave many feeling they cannot be beaten.
But Park's head coach Bonney, who saw his side lose for the first time in nine matches and slip to third in the table, was in optimistic mood and believes the race to reach the Championship is far from over.
"They treated it like they had won the league but there's 11 games to go and they are beatable," he said.
"They are a very good side but quite limited in how they play the game.
"They have a good goalkicker but did not look like scoring a try, whereas we looked dangerous and scored two tries and could have had two more.
"We certainly could have won the game and felt confident 8-5 down at half time.
"But it didn't happen and we came away thinking we should have won and we are a good side still.
"It was a fantastic crowd and they used every decision, right or wrong, to get on their feet and put the referee under pressure.
"It was a cauldron but a good cauldron and you want to play against good crowds like that."
Steve Parsons and Graham Barr scored Park's tries on Saturday, with Jersey only crossing once through Glenn Bryce's interception try.
Referee Ross Campbell's performance came under scrutiny for constantly penalising Park for crossing, but Bonney, whose side host Tynedale on Saturday, refused to blame that as the sole reason for defeat.
"There were some difficulties with the referee," he said.
"And in the end that was the difference - the penalties they scored.
"We got pulled back a couple of times for crossings and a few bits and pieces but we didn't really help ourselves sometimes.
"We made mistakes and followed them up with mistakes which we haven't been doing recently and some of that would have been the pressure.
"But we have to take as much responsibility for the results as much as anything else.
"We had a good weekend as well though with everyone staying around for a couple of nights which was fantastic.
"You cannot underestimate how good it is for all the boys to be away together."
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