Match report and photos by Colin Coulson
This weekend Raiders travelled to Kent to play Canterbury. A bit like Redruth, Canterbury is a very difficult place for visiting teams to win. Through the morning and early afternoon, it was cold, wet and windy but fortunately the rain abated for the duration of the match.
For Raiders Jack Forrest and Kemp Price were unavailable so utility man Kieran Leeming filled the 12 shirt and Elliott Worrall was in the second row, with Jack Lake moving to blind side.
Canterbury kicked off playing down the slope. Raiders put together a sustained few minutes of possession in the home team’s territory but didn’t get any early points.
After ten minutes Raiders had a lineout inside the Canterbury 22. From the initial catch and drive, the ball moved to Liam Perkins who put the visitors beyond the gain line. From the resulting ruck the ball moved crisply into midfield where Jack Maslen entered the line at pace and cut through the defence to score the first try of the day. Within a couple of minutes the home side scored their first try of the day to tie the scores at 5-5.
From the restart Raiders managed to reclaim the ball and move it quickly through the hands towards the right wing. A great off load from Kieran Leeming put John Dawe in to space who passed to Jack Maslen to romp in unopposed to score his second try of the day. With the successful kick from Matt McLean the visitors eased into a 12-5 lead. Raiders continued to play with confidence and style but couldn’t quite finish any of their attacks in this period with a try.
Canterbury always looked dangerous when they had the ball, especially when they were able to use the catch and drive with their big line out forwards. Indeed, it wasn’t long before they scored their second try using this ploy. With the conversion missed, the visitors still held a lead of 12-10.
Raiders soaked up the pressure in defence but were soon back on the attack, threatening the Canterbury try line. During the final ten minutes of the half, the visitors came close to scoring on more than one occasion, most notably when Sam Hampson rounded off a lovely backs move to drive in at the corner. Unfortunately, the try was disallowed by the officials who deemed the ball had not been grounded correctly.
With the score at Canterbury 10 Raiders 12, the first half came to a close.
The second half saw Raiders kick off playing down the slope. Jamie Redmayne replaced Elliott Worrall and Dan Sargent replaced Jide Ajayi. Canterbury made a better start than the visitors and kept them on the back foot for the first five minutes.
As Canterbury attacked the Raiders line a high tackle by David McIlwaine was penalised with a penalty try and a red card. The home side took the lead for the first time at 17-12. The loss of a player for the visitors proved to be the turning point in the game and Canterbury scored again to stretch the lead to 22-12.
Undeterred, Raiders came back strongly to close the gap to 22-19, when John Dawe kicked ahead down the right wing and Kieran Leeming outstripped the defence to get the touch down; Matt McLean adding the extras.
During the next 15 minutes, Canterbury really made the extra man count and opened up an unassailable lead. Although the game had slipped away from the visitors, they still played with great resolve in an effort to achieve the fourth try and thus earn a bonus point. This they achieved in the last minute of the game when Jamie Redmayne touched down and Matt McLean converted to bring the final score to Canterbury 50 Raiders 26.
This was the original ‘game of two halves’. Raiders leading at half-time and looking in a very strong position to go on and win, only to see Canterbury almost completely dominate the game in the second half. After all is said and done, this was a very important bonus point, salvaged from a very difficult second half.
Full Time score: Canterbury 50 Worthing Raiders 26
Referee: Gareth Holsgrove
Tries: Jack Maslen x 2, Kieran Leeming, Jamie Redmayne
Cons: Matt McLean x 3
- David McIlwaine 14. Jack Maslen 13. Kiba Richards 12. Kieran Leeming 11. Sam Hampson (Boyland 7 mins) 10.Matt McLean 9. Matt Walsh 1. Jide Ajayi (Sargent 40 mins, Ajayi 47 mins) 2. Elliott Luke (Grief 65 mins) 3. Rhys Litterick 4. Joe Spurgeon (Whittall 65 mins) 5. Elliott Worrall (Redmayne 40 mins) 6. Jack Lake 7. John Dawe 8. Liam Perkins – Captain
- Will Grief 17. Dan Sargent 18. Jamie Redmayne 19. Jon Whittall 20. Sam Boyland