Worthing Raiders 15 Westcliff 19

Match 8

Match report Colin Coulson, photos Warwick Baker

This week newly promoted Westcliff paid their first visit to Roundstone Lane. Although below Raiders in the league their recent performances have been improving and another difficult match was expected.

Unavailabilities are still causing problems with selection but this week Henry Birch returned to the front row and Curtis Barnes returned to the wing for his first game of the season after a lengthy injury spell.

The weather had been very wet throughout the week, but Saturday morning was dry and windy and the pitch was still in good condition. The forecast predicted rain just before kick-off and it arrived on schedule and became heavier throughout the afternoon.

Raiders kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground and were in control of possession straight away. Playing with the wind and rain at their backs they quickly set up camp in the visitors’ territory. Despite the conditions they used the ball well and after fifteen minutes were rewarded with a converted try. This came from good lineout possession and neat handling which delivered the ball to Curtis Barnes who eluded several defenders on his way to touch down Matt McLean added the extras, 7-0.

As the half progressed the home side had the majority of the possession and looked likely to add to their initial score. Jack Forrest received a yellow card after twenty-seven minutes for a technical infringement, but this didn’t stop the home side pressing for more points and only two minutes later Matt McLean slotted a penalty to extend the lead to 10-0.

The visitors found it difficult to get into the Raiders’ twenty-two metre area but shortly before halftime they scored a try from short range and as the break approached, they were back in the game at 10-7.

Having dominated the half, the home side should have converted at least a couple of the excellent chances they had created. So, the halftime score of 10-7 was a disappointing return for the performance they had given in the first forty minutes.

During halftime the weather deteriorated, and the ground became more difficult underfoot.

The game became a series of handling errors on both sides and the high penalty count against the home side seemed excessive and gave the visitors the chance to rack up nine points from three kicks at goal to lead 10-16.

Raiders eventually put some phases together and Tom Gwyther crossed the line to close the gap to 15-16.

The home side again, had chances to retake the lead but hampered by conditions and the attention of the opposition could not convert them into points. With time nearly up Westcliff clinched victory with another penalty, 15-19.

Full time score: Worthing Raiders 15 Westcliff 19

In summary, Raiders had failed to capitalise fully on their first half domination and the referee’s decisions against them in key areas of the pitch eventually decided the outcome of the match.

A wet and miserable day for Raiders and the three hundred plus spectators that had braved the awful weather to support the team. A very disappointing game with little quality rugby on display.

Full time score: Worthing Raiders 15 Westcliff 19

Referee: Alan Chandrachud

B&W Man of the Match: Jack Lake

Scorers:
Tries: Barnes, Gwyther
Cons: McLean
Pen: McLean

Team:
1. Henry Birch (Gatford 62 min) 2. Elliott Luke (Gibson 62 min) 3. Rhys Litterick 4. Liam Perkins – Captain 5. Jack Lake 6. Will Fowler (Birch 75 min) 7. John Dawe 8. Kiba Richards 9. Henry Anscombe 10. Matt McLean 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Tom Gwyther (Peach 70 min) 13. Jack Forrest 14. Harry Forrest 15. Will Beer
Bench:
16. Jordan Gibson 17. Tom Adams 18. Grant Gatford 19. Freddie Holmes 20. Dan Peach

Attendance: 308