Peter gavin previews Worthing Raiders v Wimbledon


Worthing Raiders v Wimbledon RFC

23rd December 2017 Kick-off 2pm

Our visitors this week are Wimbledon RFC who make their first trip to Roundstone Lane for a National League fixture. Raiders travelled up the road to Wimbledon on 9th September and returned with a 5pointer (15-31).

Wimbledon RFC History & Background stuff.

The club was founded way back in 1865 with a Boxing Day fixture against Richmond. The club was one of the ‘19’ founders of the RFU that gathered at the ‘Pall Mall’ restaurant for the inaugural meeting in January 1871. The club captain Leonard Makin (an Old Rugbein and President of the RFU in 1874) was responsible for writing the first ‘laws’ of the game. The club was originally called Wimbledon Hornets, but the Hornets bit was dropped soon after foundation.

Wimbledon were originally based in Merton, played on Wimbledon Common and used the ‘Rose and Crown’ in Wimbledon Village for changing facilities and post match discussions. The club moved to Barham Road Wimbledon in 1987/8. Since the league system started The Dons have generally played at level 5 or 6, this season is their first adventure into level 4.

Wimbledon, like Worthing, is a proper ‘Community’ Rugby club with an emphasis on youth, junior and mini rugby. There is a strong link to Harlequins RFC with Joe Gray, Head Coach (Harlequins Hooker 138 apps) and Jordan Turner-Hall (Old Brightonian and former Harlequins centre 180 apps) assistant coach.

The club turn-out 3 or 4 senior teams along with the vital age-group rugby U21s etc.

Wimbledon Ladies play in South West 2.

Club Colours: Maroon shirts/blue sleeves and a blue stripe on the side. Navy shorts/stockings

There is no mention of a team mascot, although the Ladies use Alderney…a Womble.

Last season

A successful season that saw the side finish 2nd in National 3 (London & South East) 5 points behind promoted Tonbridge Juddians. They lost only 3 league encounters (TJs 12-25 & 19-17 and Westcombe Park 7-9). In the play-off match against the runners-up in South West, Dings Crusaders, they cruised to victory 55-5.

Team v Dings: Viane, Muir, Bayford, Tait, Flashman D, Hunt, May, Godfrey:  Morgan, Croke, Charles, Lowe, Reville, Cheers, Gilbert. Bench: Gillespie, Brooks, Hore, Bennett.

Influential players: Messrs Godfrey (No8), Hunt (WF), Croke (FH), Muir (H) and Tait (L) were all mentioned as departees in the match report.

Wimbledon v Worthing

Over the years before leagues the clubs must have met on many occasions, but the last encounter in league rugby prior to this season, was in 2002/3, London 2 South (level 6), Worthing having the edge 33-5 & 20-33. Worthing won the league that season, Wimbledon finished 6th.

An older player recalls an occasion when Worthing 1st and 3rd XVs visited Wimbledon and for some reason the matches had to be played at a different location, although the players changed at the club house. The 3rd XVs had the usual invigorating encounter with the result rather irrelevant. The 1st XV match did not take place as the Worthing team could not find the new venue getting completely lost in the by-ways of Wimbledon!! (This tale could revolve around Old Wimbledonians, but heigh-ho.)

9th September 2017   Wimbledon RFC 15 Worthing Raiders 31

Raiders travelled to SW20 in good heart after a spirited victory over London Irish Wild Geese (27-22) the previous weekend. The game had hardly started before the home side scored a converted try (Thornton/Doe) following a line-out and a rolling maul (7-0). Raiders pulled a try back (Gearing-Grief), in similar fashion in the 16th minute, the conversion from far-out missed (7-5). The home side scored again almost immediately, once again through loose forward Dave Thornton, although the extras were not added (12-5). The visitors started to exert a little more pressure which resulted in a couple of penalties converted by Matt McLean along with an unconverted try from John Dawe on 30 minutes (12-16). James Doe added a penalty for the home side right on the stroke of half-time to send the sides in for oranges with the contest tightly balanced (15-16). Soon after resumption the referee was forced to suspend play as a severe thunderstorm broke out. (The ladies’ match on a nearby pitch continued in the downpour and the lightening!) The break in proceedings seemed to suit the visitors as winger Sam Hampson crossed for an unconverted try (15-21). McLean added another penalty to put a little daylight between the sides (15-24), before Sam Boyland grabbed the bonus point try in injury time with McLean adding the conversion from near touch.

Wimbledon: Taylor, Ike, Hough, Gilbert, Charles, Doe, Morgan, Beale, Ugodulunwa, Bayford, Turner, MacSweeney, Thornton, Ridley, York.                                                                                                                                                Bench: Haskins, Brooks, Dale, Waltier, Lewis.

Raiders: Leeming, Boyland, Richards, Maslen, Hampson, McLean, Walsh, Head, Gearing-Grief, Sargent, Spugeon, Lake, Price, Dawe, Perkins.                                                                                                                                                                Bench: Gatford, Worrall, Redmayne, Adams, Miller.

This season so far…P15/W1 (Wimbledon 16th 9 points, Raiders 9th 41 points.)

Wimbledon have had rather a miserable season, although there will be a spring in their step after last Saturday’s adventures in Bristol. They broke their duck and came away from Old Redcliffians with a much needed win 28-29 (2 points-5). As their match report exclaimed ‘At Last’…the champagne corks were not quite popping, but the view was that this win was finally secured after a few near misses! Obviously it was a very tight encounter with ORs camped on the Don’s line for much of the last 10 minutes, the defence held! As far as some of the other matches are concerned, they have gained a losing bonus point against Clifton (25-20) and Broadstreet (24-30). They have also claimed 4 try bonus points against Taunton Titans (27-42) and Henley Hawks (26-55). They will be pleased with their displays against top sides, Cinderford (23-31) and Redingensians (13-24). Leading points scorer is outside-half James Doe with 98 points (22C/18P) with leading try scorers wing Josh Charles and scrum-half Rhys Morgan with 5 apiece. Loose-head prop George Beale has been involved with all 15 encounters. There have been 50 different players involved in the fixtures so far.

The players

As usual a list of players involved in the last few matches is provided along with some detail as to their credentials. There have been a few new players appearing over the last month or so and also a number of established players returning to the ranks. The usual* on the list indicates players who lined up against us in September. As far as the records show new in the ranks are: Noah Cato, Alex Kane, Sam O’Leary-Blade, Charlie Esam and Ollie Smith. Ex Raider (2009-10), Steve May did not play in September, but has been in the squad recently.


Even though ‘The Dons’ have not had the greatest of seasons so far, their recent success in Bristol will probably spur them on to ensure that this will be another tantalizing match…Try and get along to support the boys and enjoy some festive spirit!!!


C’Mon Raiders.

Name/age            *Played v Raiders         9th Sept 2017 N2 apps Joined Points Honours Position : Previous Club/s Apps                     *played v Raiders
Noah Cato (29) 2 2017 England U20 England Saxons Full Back: Saracens 71, London Welsh 2 Saints 9, Falcons 52
Will Taylor* 9/1R 2017   Full Back/Fly Half:
Alex Kane (20) 1/1R 2017 Ireland 7s Senior Squad & U19s Wing: Wimbledon College,  Irish Exiles, Ulster A
Dan Cheers 5/1R 2015 1T   Wing/Full Back:
Matt Gilbert* 10 2016   Wing/Full Back:
Josh Charles* 13 2014 5T Surrey Wing: Harlequins A (guest)
Sam O’Leary-Blade (19) 3 2017   Wing: John Fisher School
Charlie Esam (23) 6 2017   Centre: Bedford & Northampton Academy, Bristol University (c), Bristol ‘A’
Andreas Robertson (24) 3/3R 2017   Centre:  Esher, Nottingham Trent University, Leicester Lions 8.
Leighton Bellamore (25) 2/1R 2017   Centre: Caerleon, Pontypool, Dragons, Richmond
Oliver Milner 1/2R 2017   Centre:
James Doe* (23) 14 2017 22C 18P England Students Fly Half: Oratory,  Exeter University , Old Elthamians
Harry Tabb (23) 3/5R 2017 2T   Scrum Half: Old Wimbledonians, University of Roehampton
Rhys Morgan* (vc) 10 2014 5T Surrey Scrum Half:
Sam Waltier* (23) 6/1R 2017 3T England Students Scrum Half: Exeter University, Old Elthamians*7
George Beale* (24) 13/2R 2016 England Students LH Prop: Exeter University
Ollie Smith (37) 2/1R 2017 1T   LH Prop: Worcester, Old Patesians*99 Redingensians*6
Josh Bayford* (25) 10 2015 England Students Durham TH Prop: Leeds Carnegie Academy, Durham University, Darlington Mowden Park 23.
Alistair Wade 1 2017   TH Prop: Rosslyn Park 25,Wharfedale 24
Bertie Haskins* 3/7R 2017 England Counties LH Prop: Blackheath 39
Bradley Ugodulunwa* 5/2R 2016 1T   Prop/Hooker: Harlequins Academy, Leicester University
Ben Brooks* 7/4R 2015 2T   Hooker:
Matt Ringer 4/5R 2017   Hooker: Wirral RFC
Dylan Flashman (c) 9 2015 2T Surrey Lock: Plymouth Albion
Andy Hore 2/2R 2016 1T   Lock: London Irish A, Basingstoke, Leeds Met, Rochdale Hornets RL
John Okafor (19) 2/2R 2017   Lock: Wellington College, Harlequins Academy
Alex Campbell (28) 5 2017   Lock: Hull 42, Hull Ionians*56
Steve May 8/2R 2016 Surrey (c) Wing Forward: Worthing Raiders 15
Niall MacSweeney* 0/1R 2016   BS Wing Forward: Liverpool University
Dom Rice (21) 4/2R 2017   OS Wing Forward: Guernsey, Bracknell
Kane Alboni (24) 9 2016 4T   N08/Centre: Esher, Harlequins A (guest), Southampton University