Updated: Jan 27
(Photo Credit: Paul Butterfield - Ben Jones-Bishop streaks away for a Jamaica Try)
A sensational end to the running game season saw Jamaica and Scotland share the spoils, 30-all, at the Millennium Stadium, Featherstone in a Test match for world ranking points.
The Reggae Warriors scored six tries to five and came back from 30-10 down two minutes into the second half, superbly led by Ashton Golding - starting at loose forward for the first time - and Izaac Farrell on debut.
Scotland were excellently served by St Helens-bound James Bell, Barrow’s Charlie Emslie posting a try double for them on his international bow.
Jamaica raced into a 10-0 lead with tries from Jymel Coleman and an 85 metre pick up by Ben Jones-Bishop after Sam Luckley had lost the ball, the Bravehearts then holding out Golding and Izaac Farrell and preventing Mo Agoro crossing in the corner with some outstanding goal line defence.
Keenan Tomlinson was sinbinned in the 25th minute as Jamaica’s discipline let them down and Scotland hit back with Emslie’s first – from a fine pass by Bell – and further tries from Ross Oakes on the overlap, Ben Hellewell diving on a loose ball and Dale Ferguson, all converted by Lachlan Walmsley on his first international start – to lead 24-10 at the break.
Emslie’s second from a spilt high kick seemed to have the Scots firmly in charge, but Jones-Bishop grabbed his brace, Joe Brown went in on the hour and Jordan Andrade crashed to the posts with 15 minutes to go.
Ferguson was sent to the bin with five to go for a high tackle and, switching play on the last, Jamaica’s Alex Brown powered into the corner to level, Izzac Farrell’s conversion attempt just falling short.
In the final minute, Ryan Brierley’s drop goal attempt for the Scots was touched in flight and the Reggae Warriors held on from the resulting drop out.
Lead Coach Jermaine Coleman said: “It was a tough game, Scotland played really well. The momentum shifted in the middle of the game when we had Keenen Tomlinson sent off. We started fantastic and stuck to wat we wanted to do early on, but our kick finishes were a bit poor.
We came out in the second half and showed commitment and togetherness that will be the main thing to get us through the World Cup. Our talk at halftime-e focused on what can control such as our tackles, our finished and our energy. Ultimately that showed in the second game and on the back of that we nearly won the game, we certainly can take a moral victory from the draw”
Meanwhile Jamaica Director of Rugby and Head Coach sees the drawn game as a positive catalyst heading into 2022: “The result does a lot for our confidence, it reinforces our belief that we are on the right track despite the many challenges we face. We had two of our staff members quit just before we played these games, we had 8 players unavailable due to one thing or another, we couldn’t get domestic players or staff to England due to Covid, so to face all these challenges, and end the year with a tie against Scotland, we can build on this moment.”
The Reggae Warriors are currently ranked 20th in the world and defeated Canada and USA in 2018 to become the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a Rugby League World Cup. The postponed 2021 Rugby League World Cup takes in 2022 from October 15 to November 19.
Jones-Bishop, Agoro, J. Brown, Ogden, Johnson, Woodburn-Hall, I. Farrell, Peltier, Coleman, Lawrence, Tomlinson, J. Farrell, Golding
Subs (all used): Andrade, Bravo, Magrin, A. Brown
Tries: Coleman (8), Jones-Bishop (14, 49), J. Brown (59), Andrade (65), A. Brown (77)
Goals: I. Farrell 3/6
Sin bin: Tomlinson (25)
Walker, Oakes, Dixon, Buchanan, Walmsley, Addy, Brierley, Teanby, Hood, Luckley, Hellewell, Kavanagh, Bell
Subs (all used): Ferguson, Oakley, Moran, Emslie
Emslie (30, 42), Oakes (32), Halliwell (37), Ferguson (39)
Goals: Walmsley 5/5
Sin bin: Ferguson (75)
Half time: 10-24
Referee: James Jones (Wales)