Peter Gavin previews Worthing Raiders away to London Irish Wild Geese


London Irish Wild Geese v Worthing Raiders 

28th April 2018 Kick off 3pm

Raiders are on the road again this Saturday, although only for a short journey, up the road to Sunbury to take on London Irish Wild Geese. This is Raiders second visit to ‘Hazelwood’ for a National League fixture, and is, of course, the last outing for the season.

LIWG visited Roundstone Lane in September for the first match of the season which Raiders won 27-22.

History & Background stuff

London Irish RFC was founded in 1898 as a ‘home’ for sporting Irishmen in London. Their foundation coincided with the arrival in London of veterinary surgeon Louis Magee who represented Ireland 27 times at outside-half. He was a vital presence and attracted many of his countrymen to the club. The first fixture was against Hammersmith RFC, but before long matches were being played against leading clubs in the Capital. Irish (‘The Exiles’) were nomadic until 1931 when around 12 acres of land was purchased in Sunbury for £1280. The first match was a draw, 8-8 against London Welsh. The Sunbury ground was requisitioned in 1939 and Irish were nomads again, although eventually sharing facilities with Blackheath. By 1959 a return to Sunbury was achieved, the opening match being a select XV chosen from London Irish/Welsh/Scottish v Harlequins Select. In 1996 the arrival of the professional game affected LI more than most. After many meetings it was decided to form an Amateur club to run alongside the professional outfit and what better name for the 1st XV than Wild Geese, a name already synonymous with the club. Amateur non-league matches were staged against other clubs with a fully Professional side (Richmond, London Scottish etc).

Official admittance to the league structure saw Wild Geese into Surrey 1 for season 2000-1. Fairly regular promotions were achieved and by season 2013-4 they made it into National 2 (S). Despite a reasonably successful season with 11 wins and 63 points (60 is generally regarded as the survival number), they ended up in the 3rd relegation spot, just 2 points below Chinnor. They were promoted again after season 2015/6.

On 28th November 2014 the official opening of the much awaited new facility took place, whilst departing ‘The Avenue’ their home for over 70 years caused many a tear to be shed. The spacious, state of the art , former 9 hole golf course, ‘Hazelwood’, comprises of 60+ acres, many pitches, gymnasium, conference and dining facilities has set fair all aspects of the club, professional and amateur….from a farmer’s field etc etc.

Wild Geese last season

Newly promoted as Champions from level 5 (London & South East), LIWG had a tough season at National level, eventually surviving in 13th spot with 8 wins, 52 league points (including 20 BPs, 14 from 4+ tries.). Leading try scorer was winger George Owen with 24. Influential Captain, back row forward Scott Moore made 27 appearances.

Raiders V LIWG

2016-17:   WR 26 – LIWG 22 / LIWG 34 – WR 39

2nd September 2017 Raiders 27 LIWG 22

A good sized crowd (472) gathered for the opening match of the season, with spectators from both camps eager to see how their team would gel after the closed season signings. It was Wild Geese on the score-board first, with only a couple of minutes on the clock, hooker Jack Cohen finished off a blistering break by George Owen. Peter Hodgkinson added the extras (0-7). Raiders spent time in the visitors half but were not rewarded for their efforts until skipper Liam Perkins burst through after a good drive by the home pack. Matt McLean converted, (7-7) after 15 minutes. Flying winger Reon Joseph showed his pace a few minutes later, scoring out wide to put the visitors back into the lead (7-12). The visitors dominated possession, but Raiders defence held firm and eventually Dan Sargent made a trademark burst for the line to put in Perkins for his second try after 35 minutes (12-12). Raiders were quickly back onto the attack and with an outstanding cross field kick, Kieran Leeming found Sam Hampson in space to sprint in unopposed. Matt McLean added the extras (19-12) at oranges. Wild Geese were straight onto the attack after the break and levelled the scores with a converted try in the 50th minute (19-19). From this point the game ebbed and flowed with neither side being able to capitalise on attractive play. The game entered the final 5 minutes when McLean was able to convert a penalty to nudge Raiders into a narrow lead (22-19). With barely a minute left on the clock Sam Boyland raced away to score the bonus point try in the corner, after some enterprising handling skills from the home side (27-19). From the restart LIWG were awarded a penalty which Hodgkinson slotted to gain a valuable losing bonus point (27-22).

A pulsating encounter to set the season off on the right foot for Raiders with a 5 pointer!

Raiders: Leeming, Maslen, Richards, Forrest J, Hampson, McLean, Walsh, Head, Grief, Sargent, Spurgeon, Lake, Price, Dawe, Perkins.

Bench: Harris, Gatford, Adams, Worrall, Boyland.

LIWG: Owen, Meeson, Kitching, Cunningham, Joseph, Hodgkinson, Barker, O’Sullivan, Cohen, Montout, White, Moore, Rowland, Bush, Touma.

Bench: Clements, Dean, Chamnaoui, Hobbins, Bunting.

 The Season (so far) for LIWG   P29 /W9 12th 56 points   (Raiders 8th 76 points)

A season of fluctuating fortunes with the high point undoubtedly the defeat of high flying Chinnor (20-35).  This victory not only floored practically all the pundits, but it also took away their unbeaten home record that had been running for almost 2 seasons!! Their other wins, on home turf have been against Wimbledon (60-6), Old Redcliffians (53-22), Barnstaple (37-22), Redruth (39-32) and another fine scalp Taunton Titans (45-38). On the road they have been victorious at TJs (26-37), Clifton (31-33) and importantly last week at Henley Hawks (19-36).

A quick glance at the league table will show that despite being 2 spots clear of the drop zone, if results do not go their way in the last round of matches, and they fail to pick up at least one point against Raiders they could still be relegated. The matches involving the other teams involved are specified below:

Team Position Points Wins Opposition Position/Points
Old Redcliffians 13th 53 points 8 Redruth 5th / 89 points
Barnstaple 14th 51 points 9 Wimbledon 15th / 49points

(Broadstreet 16th / 34 points are relegated with two other teams to be resolved on Saturday.)


The Players

A list of the players used in the last match against Henley Hawks along with a few more players used in recent fixtures is provided, along with a little more detail as to their credentials. George Owen is once again the leading try scorer with 27, Scott Moore making 26 appearances usually in the back row. Coach Lee Starling (back-row) has featured in the starting line up recently. Missing from the listing is flying winger Reon Joseph who has not played for LIWG since March. He did however, run in a couple of tries for Ealing Trailfinders against Yorkshire Carnegie in the Championship fixture on 17th April.


As mentioned this is the last fixture for this season, so it would be great if the following faithful could turn out in good numbers to add your support from the touchline.

 The players and the coaching team deserve you support and thanks for a really entertaining season.

 This fixture has all the hallmarks of a classic, with hopefully plenty of action & tries to savour.



……… C’Mon Raiders

Name, Age       *played 2nd Dec Apps 2017/8 N2 App Join Points Honours Position Previous Club/s & Apps       * played v Raiders
TEAM 21st  April           v HENLEY HAWKS (away)
Peter Hodgkinson* (33) 24/1R 45 2015 12T/5P/11C Eng. Counties Surrey Full Back: Ealing*152, Rosslyn Park 23.
Brad Meeson* (26) 8/1R 18 2016 2T Surrey Wing: Edinburgh University, CS Rugby
Joe Price (32) 8/9R 17 2017 2T   Centre: Marlow, Ealing*109
Sean Cunningham* (28) 19 54 2009 2T Surrey Centre: Oxford Brookes University
George Owen* (25) 27 73 2015 27T S East U20 Wing: Bracknell, Counties Manukau
Alex Seers (23) 25 25 2017 3T/54C/13P Eng. Counties U20 Fly Half: Chobham, Cardiff Met, Ealing  Academy
Ross Parsons (27) 3 3 2018 2T   Scrum Half: UWE, Old Albanian 10.
George Dean* (25) 20/4R 24 2016 1T   LH Prop: Marlow
Bradley Clements* (19) 11/5R 16 2017 2T Scotland U20 Hooker: Sedberg, Ealing Academy
Zaki Chamnaoui* 23 11/12r 23 2017 1T Middlesex TH Prop: Ealing Academy, Henley
George Drye (27) 12/3R 35 2016 3T   Lock: Esher, London Irish ‘A’
Calum Haggett (21) 17 28 2016   Wales U18 Lock: Cardiff Blues
Jack Cooke (20) 1 12 2016   Ireland U19 BS Wing Forward: Bracknell, L.I. Academy, London Irish 6, Rosslyn Park.
Scott Moore* 26 (c) 26 78 2008 3T Surrey OS Wing Forward: L.I.  Academy
Lee Starling 2/2R 8 2016     No8: Bracknell, London Welsh 31, Titans, Esher 110, Ealing* 80, Rosslyn Park*14.
Austin Haye (19) 0/1R 1 2018     Prop: L.I. AASE
Charlie Connor (28) 14/2R 65 2010 4T Surrey Prop/Hooker:
Sam Hobbins* (27) 18/6R 25 2017     Lock: Chiswick
Courtenay Raymond (23) 2/3R 5 2017     No8: Yorkshire Carnegie
Frederick Bunting*19 10/2R 12 2017     Wing: St. Paul’s, L.I. AASE
Played Recently         Last Played  
Brandon Baker 0/2R 2 2018   14th Apr Prop: L.I. Academy
Henry Paul (21) 4/8R 12 2017   14th Apr Prop:
Jack Cohen* (24) 10/3R 13 2017 1T 7th Apr Hooker: Esher Academy, Leeds Beckett
Billy Fowler (21) 1/6R 13 2016   14th Apr Hooker:
Pat White* (24) 11/2R 13 2017   14th Apr BS Wing Forward: Leeds Met, Raiders 15.
Joe Touma* (27) 10/8R 28 2017 1T 14th Apr Lebanon Surrey No8: Barnes, Barking, Chelmsford
Daniel Ianus (31) 4/1R 5 2018   7th Apr Romania No8: Bucharest 21, RC Timisoara.
Chico U’Chong (22) 10 10 2017   7th Apr Scrum Half: Redingensians 12
Russell Bennett (19) 6 6 2018   14th Apr Full Back: L.I. Academy