Saturday 8th September
Match report and photos by Colin Coulson.
The second week of the new season saw Worthing playing away from home again. The opponents this week were Guernsey Raiders, newly promoted to this league and staging their first home game at this level.
Worthing’s travelling supporters were many and in good spirits.
A fine day and flat, dry pitch was perfect for open, running rugby. The game didn’t disappoint.
Guernsey kicked off with the breeze at their backs. For the first fifteen minutes they played at a high tempo and kept the visitors under plenty of pressure. Worthing were able to soak up the pressure and gradually got themselves into the game.
After seventeen minutes Worthing had possession on the half way line. Backs and forwards combined to produce many phases and advance to within a couple of metres of the Guernsey try line. Eventually the pressure told and Grant Gatford dived over to score the first points of the game. Matt McLean converted to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Within a few minutes the home side scored their first try of the match. Their conversion attempt was brilliantly charged down by Jack Maslen, 7-5 to Worthing. The visitors continued to create chances but couldn’t turn them into points.
After twenty eight minutes Guernsey broke out of defence, it looked like a length of the field sprint would produce a try, however Curtis Barnes showed just how quick he is by making up what seemed an impossible gap from the opposite side of the field to make an outstanding tackle just short of the line and deny the home side the try.
Only a couple of minutes later Sam Boyland made a break from the base of the scrum, the ball finding its way through the hands of Kiba Richards and Matt McLean to Curtis Barnes who beat the last defender to score the visitors’ second try. Matt McLean added the extras to extend the lead to 14-5.
Although Guernsey had made a positive start to the game it was Worthing who ended the half the stronger.
Half time score: Guernsey Raiders 5 Worthing Raiders 14
Worthing restarted the game after the break and quickly found themselves under pressure from a determined Guernsey team. The pressure brought a penalty to the home side. They elected to kick for goal but the ball struck the crossbar and rebounded in field. In trying to clear their lines Worthing knocked on and from the resulting scrum Guernsey scored a converted try, 14-12.
After ten minutes an excellent clearing kick by Matt Walsh gave the home side a line out on their own 22 metre line. As they tried to bring the ball out of defence it was turned over in a tackle. Matt Walsh got the ball to Jack Maslen, who sprinted forward chipped over the defence and collected the bouncing ball to score under the posts. Matt McLean converted and the lead stretched to 21-12.
Two minutes late Matt McLean made a break out of defence and put Curtis Barnes away in space, he fed the ball back inside to Jack Maslen to score again under the posts. The reliable boot of Matt McLean added two more points and the lead was 28-12.
With a quarter of the game to go Guernsey fought back to close the score to 28-26.
The game looked as if it could go either way until with six minutes left the visitors’ backs moved the ball through the hands whilst travelling at great pace. Matt Mclean chipped over the last defenders and regained the ball to score under the posts, his conversion gave Worthing a nine point lead, 35-26.
With three minutes left on the clock Jon Whittall received a yellow card at a ruck in front of the Worthing posts. As Guernsey tried to capitalise they gave away a penalty. Jack Maslen relieved the pressure with a fine clearing kick to the halfway line. From the lineout the forwards were able to maintain possession and see out the final moments of the match.
Final Score: Guernsey Raiders 26 Worthing Raiders 35
A pleasing bonus point win away from home against a very competitive Guernsey side.
The many Worthing supporters who had travelled over for the game could be heard throughout giving great vocal encouragement to the team. No doubt the win made their enjoyment of the weekend that bit more special. The commitment of the supporters is greatly appreciated by the players and coaches. Long may it continue.
Tries: Grant Gatford, Jack Maslen x 2, Curtis Barnes, Matt McLean
Cons: Matt McLean x 5
- Henry Birch 2. Elliott Luke 3. Grant Gatford 4. Michael Dingle 5. Joe Spurgeon 6. John Whittall 7. George Harris 8. Liam Perkins – Captain
- Sam Boyland 10. Matt McLean 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Harrison Sims 13. Kiba Richards 14. Jack Maslen 15. George Brown
16. Will Grief 17. Tom Adams 18. Sam Cook 23. Jack Lee 21. Matt Walsh