Peter Gavin previews Worthing Raiders v Westcliff

Worthing Raiders v Westcliff RFC
26th October 2019 kick off 3pm

Westcliff ‘Lions’ pay their first visit to Roundstone Lane for a National League fixture. They journey approx. 100 miles from their base ‘The Gables’, Aviation Way, Eastwood, Southend-on-Sea (not too far from Southend Airport). The Essex side qualified for promotion last season after finishing runners-up in London & South East Premier (L5) and going on to defeat Barnstaple in the play-off match last April (44-5).

History & Background stuff
The club was founded in 1922 as Old Westcliffians RFC for ex-pupils of Westcliff High School for boys. The club name was changed to Westcliff RFC in the 1990s, although the club ‘went open’ in the 1960s. The club is approved as a Community Amateur Sports Club which effectively provides charitable status which benefits the club in respect of Rates and tax relief on certain donations. The new clubhouse is near completion, the pitches are rented from the Council. The club was recently awarded Southend Borough Council ‘Club of the Year’.

The club is devoted to the local Community with rugby for all and is flourishing with 3 senior teams playing most weekends. Youth, mini (cubs) and girls’ rugby taking over on Sundays. There are many similarities between our clubs especially with the number of players progressing through to the 1st XV. The Ladies team ‘The Lionesses’ was formed in 2017 and play in NC2 South East-East. (Unbeaten after first 5 fixtures).

Club colours: Maroon & Yellow stripes blue shorts (Colour change Dark Blue)

League history
The club was promoted as Champions of Eastern Counties 2 (L10) in 2003-4 and was swiftly promoted to the London league 3 North East (L8). By 2014 the club had moved through to what is now London Premier (L5) and as mentioned above managed promotion to National 2S (level 4) by way of their play-off victory.

Last season… P26 /W19 /L7…2rd….98 points (4 points behind Champions Sutton & Epsom)
Westcliff had a successful season last year gaining 2nd place in London & South East Premier thereby qualifying to engage in a play-off fixture with 2nd in SW Premier, Barnstaple. The Essex side had a superior playing record 98 points/91 points and thereby claimed home advantage. During the season Lions lost to Sutton & Epsom and Wimbledon both home and away, along with defeats at Tring, Chingford and Bedford Athletic.

27th April 2019 Play-off – Westcliff RFC 44 v Barnstaple RFC 5
Many impartial pundits fancied Barnstaple to pull off a rare away win in this type of play-off fixture, but this was a one-sided affair with Lions grabbing victory and were pretty much home and hosed with 4 tries scored by oranges (20-0). The home side had a brisk breeze to assist them in the 2nd half and with an early score from Bannister the match was sealed up.
TEAM: Bannister, Jones O, Reynolds, Smith, Merrick, Jones J, Spivey*, Hopkins, Binneman, Scroggins, Dartnell, Marsh, Hatton, Maloney.
Bench: Lane, Weston, Brown S, Morrant H. (*now with Bishop’s Stortford)

Links with Worthing
As far as it can be ascertained this is the first fixture between the clubs, unless Old Westcliffians called into ‘Castle Road’ way back, on some touring adventure.

The season so far….P7 /L7….16th …5 points……(Raiders 12th 11 points)
Obviously not the start the newcomers to the league would have wanted, but they put in a solid display last week against Taunton Titans holding the strong Somerset outfit for the 1st half (20-21), although the visitors eventually took a 5 pointer (27-54). Their other results on home turf have been close run affairs: Old Redcliffians (18-23), Leicester Lions (12-19), Dings (24-25). On the road they had a close encounter with last season’s rivals Sutton & Epsom (21-17), but the visits to Bournemouth (39-12) and Bury St Edmunds (53-17) were a little more one-sided. Despite their position propping up the table they have collected 4 ‘losing’ bonus points.

Coaching set-up
In August, Jacob Ford was appointed new Head Coach, the 21 year old is the youngest coach to qualify at RFU level 3. He is the brother of George Ford who is presently engaged in Japan with England. Peter Mahoney the DOR welcomed Jacob to the club after a year coaching at Lougborough. Jacob will head-up a team including Kent Bray, John Rudd, Jackson Wray and Joe Vandermolen.

The Players
A list of players used in last week’s fixture against Titans is provided, along with more detail on a few players who have played in recent fixtures. Most of the players will probably be new to Raiders and their supporters, although forwards coach Joe Vandermolen played against us for Southend in 2010 and Chinnor in 2015. Joe along with stalwart forwards tight-head Ewan Binneman and lock James Scroggins have started in all 7 matches played so far. No8 Seb Reynolds along with Chris Marsh (back-row) and Billy Morrant (front-row) have also been involved in all the games. There has been a degree of chopping and changing caused by unavailability or injury, in all 38 different players have been used so far.

Chris Marsh is top try scorer with 3, Greg Bannister (Full-back) is top points scorer with 37.

Once again another important fixture awaits the Raiders who as always will be grateful for your support from the touchline or the balcony. This fixture is also interesting as it is an opportunity to greet a club visiting ‘The Rugby Park’ for the first time.

Please try to get along to support the boys and to hopefully cheer them back to winning ways!!!

……..C’Mon Raiders

Name      Apps 2019/20 Joined Points Position / Previous Club/s & Appearances                       *played v Raiders
Team v Taunton Titans 19th October LOST 27-54
Greg Bannister © 5 2013 1T/10C/4P Full Back: Westcliff Youth, Bond Pirates (Aus)
Sean Triana 4 2019 2T Wing: Barking, Old Elthamians
Daniel Hughes 1/1R 2019 Centre :
Reece Whiting 5 2016 Centre: Westcliff Youth
Jack Hogarth 3/1R 2019 1T Wing: Westcliff Youth
Elliott Croft 7 2018 1T Fly Half: Westcliff Youth
Henry Morrant 4/2R 2019 Scrum Half: Westcliff Youth
Matt Meakin 2/2R 2015 Loose Head Prop: –
Callum Lynch 3/1R 2016 Hooker: Old Elthamians 1, Loughborough Stu 25
Ewan Binneman 7 2012 2T Tight Head Prop:
James Scroggins 7 2012 Lock:
Ian Dartnell 3 2010 Lock: Captain 2014
Joe VanDerMolen 7 2018 1T Blind Side WF: Southend* 53, Bedford 48, Old Albanian 1, Chinnor*24
Blaine Webber 3/1R 2019 Open Side WF: Westcliff Youth
Sam Reynolds 6/1R 2014 1T No8: Barking 28, Tynedale 25, Richmond 2, Wimbledon 2
Ewan Richmond 0/1R 2019 Hooker:
Kostas Dellas 0/4R 2014 1T Prop: Westcliff Youth
Billy Morrant 5/2R 2019 Hooker: Westcliff Youth
Chris Marsh 5/2R 2013 3T Back Row: Captain 2018
Kwane Kwaasi 3/3R 2018 1T Back: Westcliff Youth, Bath University RL
Played 12th Oct
Seb Reynolds 4/1R 2014 Centre: RAMS, LIWG 5
Chris Bolton 6 2019 1T1C Scrum Half: Southend 7, Guernsey 4