Match report by Martin Maslen
The first game in February saw Raiders travel to league leaders Cinderford in Gloucestershire. It rained all the way there, and on arrival and during warm up but it stopped as the referee blew the whistle to commence proceedings. Joy.
Raiders went to Cinderford determined to give their best, and boy did they!
Raiders played down the slight slope with wind over the right shoulder for the first half and after 24 minutes the score was still 0-0. This doesn’t tell the whole story as Raiders were defending brilliantly and had a number of attacking opportunities using the wind to advantage with some excellent strategic kicking and follow up chasing. Cinderford had two players replaced due to injury, their 7 and 9. We wish them a speedy recovery. This highlights the ferocity of the tackles and commitment from Raiders throughout the game.
The pressure eventually told and Cinderford scored and converted after 25 minutes, 7-0. Within minutes of the restart Cinderford sustained another injury, their number 6. However this didn’t help Raiders as the replacement came on and scored Cinderford’s 2nd try which was converted, 14-0 after 35 minutes. Litterick was replaced by Gatford due to injury at this point and 4 minutes before the end of the half Cinderford picked up their first of 4 yellow cards in the match.
Half time whistle saw the score 14-0.
The second half whistle blew with John Dawe on for Jack Forrest who had a shoulder injury. Cinderford kicked a penalty after 46 minutes, 17-0. Three minutes later Cinderford received their second yellow card and Raiders took advantage of the extra man to get their first try, scored by George Head, attempted conversion hit the post, 17-5.
There then followed a sustained period of superb attacking and defending from both sides during which Raiders started to bring on their bench, Dingle and Grief replaced by Lee and Luke. Eventually Cinderford went over for their 3rd try after 62 minutes which was converted, 24-5.
Raiders were determined to come away with something from this game and upped the tempo and intensity which led to Cinderford’s 3rd yellow card after 68 minutes. Once again Raiders took advantage of the extra man and after some excellent work from the forwards and backs stretching the Cinderford defence John Dawe went over for their second try which was duly converted by McLean, 24-12.
Raiders could now see a bonus point, or more, was a real possibility whilst Cinderford were looking at not getting a 4 try bonus point for only the second time this season, game on.
Cinderford picked up their fourth yellow card on 75 minutes and Raiders got their first on 78 minutes. Raiders camped in Cinderford’s 22 for the next 5 minutes but were able to get over the try line. Cinderford then returned the compliment and deep in to extra time managed to get over the line and secure their 4th try which they failed to convert.
Final score 29-12.
A very enjoyable game to watch and Raiders could get back on the coach with heads held high after pushing what will surely be the league winners to the very end. The Cinderford President was heard to say he was impressed with the way Raiders never gave up and were tackling and attacking to the final whistle and that Worthing had been the most difficult combined Home and Away fixtures they have had face so far this season. Praise indeed. Well done all involved.
Referee: Benjamin Russell
Tries: George Head, John Dawe
Con: Matt McLean
15. Kieran Leeming 14. Jack Maslen 13. Kiba Richards 12. Jack Forrest (Dawe 41 mins) 11. Kieran Tomlinson (Sanderson 71 mins)10. Matt McLean 9. Sam Boyland 1. George Head 2. Will Grief (Luke 57 mins) 3. Rhys Litterick (Gatford 33 mins) 4. Michael Dingle (Lee 57 mins) 5. Jack Lake 6. Kemp Price 7. Jon Whittall 8. Liam Perkins – Capt.
16. Elliott Luke 17. Grant Gatford 18. Jack Lee 19.John Dawe 20. Will Sanderson