Match report by Colin Coulson. Photos by Warwick Baker.
Saturday 10th February
The start of 2018 couldn’t be more difficult for Raiders as they play the top five teams in the league consecutively (Redingensians rams, Redruth, Chinnor, Taunton Titans and Cinderford). This week’s game is the fourth in the sequence as Raiders entertain Taunton Titans at Roundstone Lane.
With Joe Spurgeon, Jide Ajayi and Max Coyle unavailable, Sam Boyland started on the left wing while Jack Lee, John Dawe and Kieran Leeming returned to the squad on the bench.
Despite atrocious weather conditions a crowd of nearly five hundred braved the elements.
Taunton kicked off defending the southern end of the ground. Raiders had first use of the ball and retained possession well. After five minutes they were rewarded for some enterprising play, when after many phases and many metres gained from their own half Kemp Price touched down and Matt McLean converted to give the home side a 7-0 lead.
During the next ten minutes Titans kicked two penalties to bring the score to 7-6.
As the game progressed the weather deteriorated and open running rugby became more and more difficult to achieve. Both sides made use of high kicks to make ground and put the opposition under pressure. From one such kick David McIlwaine led the chase, leapt high amongst the Titan players and claimed possession. The ball was moved to the left wing and Sam Boyland scored the try which was again converted by Matt McLean to take the lead to 14-6 after twenty minutes.
The rest of the half was scoreless as both teams tried to overcome each other and the weather. The home side looked good for their lead, defending strongly and attacking with great effort when in possession.
Half time score: Raiders 14 Taunton Titans 6
Jack Forrest kicked off and the chase from the home side caught Taunton deep in their own half which resulted in a penalty to Raiders. Matt Walsh tapped the ball and was off in a flash. A neat grubber kick saw the ball rolling to the try line with Matt in pursuit. Matt and a defender dived for the ball, the ball appeared to be knocked over the line by the defender and Kemp Price touched down. The referee, Mr Wookey, consulted with his touch judge and decided the ball had been knocked on by the home side and awarded a scrum to Taunton. This proved to be a turning point in the match.
With the weather getting steadily worse and the pitch heavier the big Taunton pack became dominant and when George Head received a yellow card the visitors took advantage to score two tries and take the lead 14-18.
The match continued for a further fifteen minutes with no addition to the score.
The home side defended well under pressure until the seventy fourth minute when the visitors extended their lead with a converted try to lead 14-25.
For the final six minutes Raiders kept Titans under pressure deep in their own territory. Several chances were created but could not be finished off. With two minutes left on the clock the home side were rewarded with a try by Jack Forrest to put them within one score of the visitors at 19-25. With only seconds left on the clock Taunton restarted the game but as soon as they had possession they kicked the ball off the field to end the game, happy to take four points.
Final Score: Worthing Raiders 19 Taunton Titans 25
The game had been played in terrible conditions throughout and although not a feast of open rugby both sides had produced plenty of quality and excitement for the crowd.
Not for the first time this season Raiders picked up a bonus point right at the end of the game and now have seventeen bonus points for the season, second only to the leaders Cinderford.
Congratulations to the crowd for coming out in their numbers to support the side whilst enduring the terrible weather conditions.
Referee: Adam Wookey
B&W Man of the Match: David McIlwaine
Tries: Kemp Price, Sam Boyland, Jack Forrest
Cons: Matt McLean x 2
- David McIlwaine 14. Jack Maslen 13. Kiba Richards 12. Jack Forrest 11. Sam Boyland (Gatford 48 mins, Boyland 60 mins) 10. Matt McLean 9. Matt Walsh 1. George Head 2. Will Grief (Luke 53 mins) 3. Rhys Litterick 4. Michael Dingle (Lee 73 mins) 5. Jack Lake 57 min) 6. Kemp Price 7. Jon Whittall (Dawe 53 mins) 8. Liam Perkins – Captain
- Elliott Luke 17. Grant Gatford 18. Jack Lee 19. John Dawe 20. Kieran Leeming