Doncaster Knights, last season’s beaten finalists, squandered the chance to kick-off the new campaign with a win after a second half collapse.
The Knights led 19-0 in the first half and 22-5 at the break, but were dominated at the scrum in the second half as Jersey clawed their way back.
Doncaster got off to a fast start, scoring with their first attack in the second minute as Tyson Lewis finished off a crisp move. Another flowing move involving full-back Jim Wigglesworth and flanker Will Owen created space for Lewis to score again, this one being converted by Declan Cusack.
It got better for the Knights when Wigglesworth, on his debut, benefitted from a favourable bounce to score, Cusack again on target with the extras.
Jersey responded when Tom Howe crossed untouched but Cusack kicked a penalty before the break to put Clive Griffiths’s side in a commanding position.
However, two changes to Jersey’s front row at the break altered the momentum of the game. The front-foot ball they created opened up scoring opportunites that winger Ross Adair and then No 8 Nick Haining capitalised on.
Brendan Cope converted both and then levelled matters with a penalty from a scrum offence with 16 minutes remaining but then missed a kick to win it in the dying seconds, meaning Doncaster in the end were relieved to salvage a draw.
Jersey: Penberthy, Howe, Otto (Cooke 55), Robling, Adair, Cope, Fisilau (Moates 59); Lancuba (Lockwood 59), Garcia-Veiga (Selway 40), Tomaszczyk (Herriott), Kolo’ofa’I, Rowlands, Rae, Freeman (Graham 71), Haining.
Doncaster Knights: Wigglesworth, Clark, Bulumakau, Bryant, Lewis, Cusack (Olver 55), Field, Bergmanas (Sproston 63), Veikoso (Stagg 68), John (Armstrong 63), Hotson, Young, Challinor (Makaafi 64), Owen, Shaw.
Referee: F Kirby (RFU).