Peter Gavin previews Dings Crusaders v Worthing Raiders


Dings Crusaders RFC v Worthing Raiders

13th April 2019

Kick-off 3pm

For the last away match of the campaign Raiders make their third visit of the season to Bristol this time to take on old friends and foes Dings Crusaders. This will our 7th visit to Dings for a National League fixture, but our first to play against them at their new facility, Shaftesbury Park. Dings travelled to Roundstone Lane last December for a match played out in the most miserable conditions anyone can remember. Stair-rod rain was accompanied by a bitterly cold gusting wind. Raiders managed a 10-0 win witnessed by 225 hardy souls.

History & Background stuff

In the nineteenth century ‘The Dings’ was a slum area of Bristol located between Barton Hill and Temple Meads. The Shaftesbury Crusade, a Christian mission in the area, encouraged sporting activity in the Dings. In 1897, H.W. Rudge founded Dings Crusaders as part of the Dings Boys’ Club. Dings is one of only two remaining founding members of the original Bristol Combination set up in 1901, the other being Bristol Saracens.

The club has had a number of ‘homes’, The Downs, Thrissels Ground, (Downend), but moved to Lockleaze in 1948. In 2014 the club announced that they were planning to sell the Lockleaze ground for housing development and move about 3 miles to Frenchay with ambitions to build an extensive new facility. By February 2018 the plans came to fruition with the first match taking place at the new ground, Shaftesbury Park. Around 1,000 spectators cheered Dings to victory against Weston-super-Mare 34-26. The facilities include a 3G pitch (used for league matches), extensive grassed areas as well as Clubhouse (and bar), Conference facilities and Gymnasium.

They turn out 3 senior teams most weeks with the usual Youth, Junior and Mini sections. There are strong links with Bristol RFC.

Club Motto: Per Crucis Ad Corona: By means of the cross to the crown.

Club Colours: Royal Blue and Black hooped shirts and stockings, blue shorts.

League history

Since league structure was introduced in 1988, Dings gained three promotions between 1996 and 2003 to enter the National League (level 4) for season 2003-4. They maintained their league status for 12 seasons before relegation in 2015. They were promoted back to level 4 this season.

They have won the strong Bristol Combination league 6 times, the last occasion in 2010/11.

History against Worthing

After season 2007-8 Raiders joined Dings in National League 2 South (level 4) and regular fixtures have taken place apart from 2013/4 whilst we were visiting National 1.

2008-9    W 13 – D 13 D 25 – W 26 Positions in league W 12th   D 6th    
2009-10   W 35 – D 7 D 26 – W 10 W 6th    D 10th    
2010-11  W 27 – D 20 D 16 – W 8 W 8th   D 10th
2011-12  W 36 – D 13 D 26 – W 22 W 3rd   D 12th    
2012-13  W 29 – D 25 D 26 – W 45 W 2nd  D 10th     (W. promoted)
2014-15   W 24 – D 28 D 5 – W 31 W 5th    D 16th     (relegated)
2018-19   W10 – D 0    

Whilst Worthing have the edge in the series, eight wins to four with one drawn, nearly all the matches have been competitive and entertaining. Even though Dings were relegated in 2015 they still managed their first ever win at Roundstone Lane before they left!

 15th December 2018 Worthing Raiders 10 Dings Crusaders 0

As mentioned above this fixture took place in appalling weather conditions, torrential rain, gusting very cold wind. Not a day for wingers! To their credit both teams tried to play decent rugby, although eventually, long kicks down field, if they stayed in play, were the order of the day. Scoring was never going to be high, a penalty in the first half and a converted try in the second, all to the home team, was it. Raiders match report summed things up: ‘An old-fashioned, muddy, forward dominated game but none the less full of good rugby with some inevitable handling errors.’

 Raiders: McLean, Maslen, Richards, Sims, Forrest H, Forrest J, Walsh, Gatford, Luke, Adams, Dingle, Lake, Whittall, Dawe, Cuffe.

Bench: Gibson, Litterick, Lee, Holt, Harris.

Scorers: T: Forrest J (61m) C: McLean (61m) P: McLean (17m).

 Dings: Gratton, Doggett, Smith, Arscott, Tovey, Perry, Plummer, Challenger, Anderson, Lloyd, Nowell, Knight, Goodman, Canulli, Holcombe.

Bench: Hall, Hawkesby, Weaver, Clark, Jackson.  

Last season… Champions P26/ W20/ L6/ 100 points       (2nd Bournemouth 83 points)  

Dings rather ran away with South West Premier last season despite losing 6 of the fixtures. They maintained a 10/15 point cushion between themselves and the second placed side for most of the season and had promotion sewn with 4 or so matches still to play.

This season so far….P28/ W10/ L18…13th…54 points…(Raiders 11th 58 points)

Dings had 7 wins in the bag at the half-way point of the season (same as Raiders!), but have found Ws more difficult to come by this side of Christmas (same as Raiders!). Since then, the wins, all at home, have been against Canterbury (23-20), Bury St E. (21-14) and Old Reds (22-17). They had a tight game against Henley losing (10-13) and last Saturday they lost to Titans (32-30)…yet again a last-minute penalty from Gary Kingdom saw Taunton home!

Dings are not yet totally safe from relegation, with B&S six points behind, although with Rams and TJs still to play, the odds favour the Bristol based side, who finish the season at Redruth.

The squad

A list of players used in the recent fixture against Titans is provided together with detail on a few more player who have played in recent fixtures. Most of the players listed have played against Raiders before. James Burn who has played in Raiders squad, is presently attending University in Bristol, made his 1st team starting debut against Titans last week. Connor Swan who has joined recently has played against Raiders for Redruth. Olly Bilton has recently joined the boiler house having played at Cardiff Met. Matt Smith, centre, has made 27 appearances and leads the try scorers with 11. Ash Challenger, Tom Anderson and Tom Knight have made 26 appearances.



It would be good if the Raiders faithful could make their way to the suburb of Frenchay in Bristol to support the boys in their last away adventure of the season. As you all realise your support and encouragement from the touchline is a great help and is of course very much appreciated by the team. As a bonus this is also an opportunity to visit Dings’ new facility and to see action on the ‘all weather’ pitch.

Try to get to Dings if you can……..if not the last match of another exhausting and very entertaining season is at Roundstone Lane on Saturday 27th April against Taunton Titans…should be a cracker!!


……….C’Mon Raiders


Name/Age         *Played v Raiders              15th Dec ‘18 Apps 2018-9 Total N2 Apps Joined Points Honours Position / Previous Club/s & Appearances                         *played v Raiders
Team v Taunton Titans             6th April AWAY LOST 32-30
Jordan Grattan* (24) 20/2R 22 2017 5T   Full Back: UWE, Ballynahinch
Josh Trinham (23) 19/1R 20 2018 9T North Midlands Wing: UWE, Stourbridge 64
Matt Smith* (27) 27 27 2016 11T   Centre: Colchester
Marcus Brooker (29) 23 60 2011 5T Somerset Centre: Cleve 23, Henley 1
Harry Tovey* (25) 22/1R 37 2014 10T/


  Wing: Moseley
James Burn (22) 1/1R 2 2019 1C   Fly Half: Angmering College, Raiders Squad
Connor Swan (22) 3/3R 6 2019 Cornwall U20 Scrum Half: Truro College, Camborne, Redruth*, Cardiff Met
Ray Chase (24) 8/2R 10 2018   LH Prop: Clevedon
Joe Hawkesby* (26) 9/10R 45 2013 1T Somerset Hooker:
Ash Challenger* (23) 20/6R 26 2016 5T Somerset TH Prop: Avonmouth OB, Bath United
Gavin Curry (36) 23 74 2009 2016   Lock: St Mary’s OB, Bristol, Ealing 65, Clifton*48
Olly Bilton (25) 5 5 2019   Lock: Cardiff Met
Jake Holcombe* (25) 25 81 2013 4T Somerset SW U20 No8: North Bristol RFC, SGS Filton College, Bristol United
Stean Williams (39) 21 167 2003 3T   OS Wing Forward: Henley Hawks*76, Coventry 1, Birmingham & S 4, Stourbridge 25
Michele Canulli* (27) 14/1R 44 2014 Somerset No8: Frampton C, Terni Rugby Italy
Tom Anderson* (26) 15/11R 26 2018 5T   Hooker: Coney Hill
James Hall* (32) (Forwards Coach) 17/6R 23 2018 England Students TH Prop: Nottingham 5, Bristol 54, Newcastle Falcons 62, Coventry 30, Waterloo 46
Tom Knight* (29) 20/6R 89 2008 3T England Sch&U20 Back Row:
Hugo Flinn (18) 0/5R 5 2019   Scrum Half: Walcot Colts, Beechen Cliff School
Luke Arscott* (34) Head Coach 21/2R 23 2017   Centre: Chiefs 98, Plymouth 57, Bristol 108, Bath 13
Played Recently Last Played  
Joshua Lloyd* (30) 7/9R 184 2008 1T 30th Mar Prop: Bristol United, Stalwart
James Allen (22) 2/2R 4 2019 1T 30th Mar Back Row:
Ian Clark* (26) 2/6R 8 2018 2T 23rd Mar Full Back: Hartpury*42, Gloucester 5, Clifton*52, Coventry*7, Gloucester All Golds RL
Steve Plummer* (32) 22 136 2009 14C7P 23rd Mar Glos Scrum Half/Fly Half: St Mary’s OB, Bath Academy