Match report and photos by Colin Coulson
Saturday 9th September 2017 kick off 3pm
Raiders made the relatively short journey to newly promoted Wimbledon for their second fixture of the league season. The visitors were hoping to build on the success of their victory at home the previous week. This was the first meeting between the sides since 2003.
Minimal changes had been made to the Raiders’ squad for this game. Jack Forrest was unavailable and Jack Maslen moved into the centre and Sam Boyland filled the right wing slot. Ross Miller was on the bench as cover for the backs and Jamie Redmayne returned to the squad after missing most of last season through injury.
The weather forecast threatened bad weather during the afternoon but Raiders kicked off in bright sunshine. The home side were quickly into their stride and showed the strength of their pack when they scored the first try from a catch and drive at the first lineout. This gave the home side an early 7-0 lead. Wimbledon continued to have most of the possession in the early stages but Raiders soaked up the pressure and gradually began to see more of the ball in attacking areas of the pitch. Liam Perkins and Matt Walsh were instrumental in putting the pressure back on the Wimbledon defence.
After sixteen minutes Raiders were awarded a penalty in centre field from a scrum. Kieran Leeming put in a fine kick to the corner and from the resulting lineout Will Grief forced his way over the line to score the visitors’ first try. Matt McLean narrowly missed with the conversion which left the home side leading 7-5.
As the clouds overhead grew darker and the first light showers arrived it was Wimbledon who managed to score from close quarters giving them a 12-5 lead. Raiders quickly replied with a penalty from Matt McLean to make it 12-8.
It was from this point that Raiders began to take charge of the game.
On several occasions the home side used the high box kick in the wet and windy conditions but throughout the match Kieran Leeming at full back completely dominated these situations with his clean catching of the ball under extreme pressure. It was from such a catch deep in the Raiders’ half that the ball was moved across the back line to give Sam Boyland the chance to break clear. As the defence closed in on him he put a kick ahead which the home side managed to tidy up five yards from their goal line only to see John Dawe make the turnover and romp into score Raiders’ second try. Matt McLean added the extras to put the visitors up 12-15.
In the final minutes of the half the sides swapped penalties to leave the score 15-18 at the break.
Half time score: Wimbledon 15 Worthing Raiders 18
During the half time thunder, lightning and heavy rain arrived over the ground causing the start of the second half to be delayed by a few minutes.
Despite the conditions Raiders started where they left off and were quickly back into their stride. Out of defence John Dawe made a break offloading in the tackle to Liam Perkins, the ball was then quickly through the hands to the opposite side of the pitch where Sam Hampson touched down to round off an outstanding team try. The lead was thus extended to 15-23.
At this point the rain became monsoon like and lightning lit up the sky, Mr Wilde, the referee, removed the teams from the field until the storm passed over. The game resumed in heavy rain which eventually cleared and the rest of the match was played in bright sunshine.
Raiders dominated the rest of the game they constantly threatened the Wimbledon try line. Matt McLean extended the lead to 15-26 with a penalty after a high tackle on John Dawe. The bonus point try however didn’t come until the last moments of the game. Despite the wet conditions the handling skills and interplay between backs and forwards was very pleasing on the eye and resulted in Sam Boyland diving in at the corner.
Final score: Wimbledon 15 Worthing Raiders 31
A very good win on the road in trying conditions with standout contributions from several players. The performance of Jamie Redmayne was also very pleasing on his return to action.
The coaches are naturally very pleased with the positive start to the season but will be working hard in training to eliminate errors and raise the overall performance level in order to be competitive throughout the season in this very strong league.
Thanks as usual to the excellent travelling support. The squad really appreciates the effort made by them especially on days like this when they had to endure some terrible weather conditions.
Tries: Will Grief, John Dawe, Sam Hampson, Sam Boyland
Cons: Matt McLean 1
Pens: Matt McLean 3
- George Head 2. Will Grief 3. Dan Sargent (Adams) 4. Joe Spurgeon (Redmayne) 5. Jack Lake 6. Kemp Price 7. John Dawe 8. Liam Perkins – Captain 9. Matt Walsh 10. Matt McLean 11. Sam Hampson 12. Jack Maslen 13, Kiba Richards 14. Sam Boyland 15. Kieran Leeming
- Grant Gatford 17. Elliott Worrall 18. Jamie Redmayne 19. Ross Miller 24.Tom Adams