Match report by Colin Coulson and photos by Andy Wales
With Kieran Leeming and David McIlwaine both unavailable, Jack Maslen moved to full back and Sam Boyland to the wing. Liam Perkins and George Head returned to the squad and Michael Dingle was making his debut on the bench for the injured Jamie Redmayne.
In front of a very sparse crowd (under 100) Clifton kicked off on a dry, breezy and cold afternoon.
Before Raiders had any meaningful possession they found themselves 10-0 down after a first minute penalty, followed by a converted try. Not the start the travelling supporters were hoping for.
The visitors responded quickly. Jack Maslen broke out of defence down the right wing and fed the ball to Sam Boyland who made ground to the Clifton 22 metre line. The ball ended up in touch and it was a Raiders’ throw in at the lineout. The ball moved through several phases into midfield where Joe Spurgeon burst through a couple of tackles to give the ball to Jack Maslen to complete the move with a try, Matt McLean converted to make it 10-7.
From the restart Raiders again ran out of defence up the right wing. The ball was moved across the field and at the breakdown Matt Walsh put a clever chip over the ruck which forced the Clifton defence to concede a 5 metre lineout. From the clean lineout possession Kiba Richards was able to break the defence and score under the posts. Matt McLean added the extras to give the visitors the lead, 10-14.
Clifton were quickly back on the attack, Sam Boyland received a yellow card in preventing a try being scored. From the ensuing lineout they scored a converted try to retake the lead 17-14.
Within a couple of minutes Raiders regained the lead after good interplay between Matt McLean and Jack Maslen, the former touched down and converted his own try to make it 17-21.
Raiders continued to play an exciting style of rugby but couldn’t convert the pressure into points and as often happens in these situations it was Clifton who broke out and scored the final points of the half giving them a lead of 24-21 at the break.
It was obvious that the home side’s strength was in the scrum and rolling maul and thus Raiders needed to prevent them getting into attacking areas where they might use these to gain the upper hand.
The visitors started the second half well with Jack Maslen sprinting and stepping through half a dozen attempted tackles putting his side in a great attacking position deep in the home side’s half. Although they didn’t score a try a penalty was awarded and Matt McLean slotted the kick from 30 metres to bring the scores level at 24-24.
A bit like the first half Clifton then scored a quick ten points with a penalty and converted try to move into a 34-24 lead.
With the lead changing hands at regular intervals throughout the game Raiders continued to play with great confidence knowing they had the skills and time to turn the score back in their favour.
Although Clifton continued to put pressure on the visitors whenever they had the chance to use their powerful forwards in attack, they were unable to add to their score.
As the game moved into the final quarter Raiders still trailed by ten points. An interception by Sam Boyland followed by a kick and chase just failed to bring the reward of a try. It wasn’t long before the tempo of the Raiders’ game produced a try for Sam Hampson after a break by Kiba Richards. This was the bonus point try and closed the gap to 34-29.
With ten minutes left on the clock Clifton lost a man to a red card giving raiders the extra man to the end of the match.
The visitors rounded off the scoring with a catch and drive try by the ubiquitous Kemp Price. Matt McLean converted from the touchline to take the lead 34-36 with four minutes left on the clock.
During the final period Raiders maintained possession expertly and were able to close out the game for an excellent win on the road. Many thanks to the travelling supporters who could clearly be heard encouraging the team throughout the match. It was much appreciated by the players and coaches.
Full Time score: Clifton 34 Worthing Raiders 36
Referee: Andrew Wigley
Tries: Jack Maslen, Kiba Richards, Matt McLean, Sam Hampson, Kemp Price
Cons: Matt McLean x 4
Pen: Matt McLean
- Jack Maslen 14. Sam Boyland 13. Kiba Richards 12. Jack Forrest 11. Sam Hampson 10.Matt McLean 9. Matt Walsh 1. Jide Ajayi (Head 33 mins) 2. Elliott Luke (Grief 66 mins) 3. Rhys Litterick 4. Joe Spurgeon 5. Jack Lake 6. Kemp Price 7. John Dawe (Whittall 66 mins) 8. Liam Perkins – Captain
- Will Grief 17. George Head 18. Michael Dingle 19. Jon Whittall 20. Ross Miller