Match report by Colin Coulson, photos Warwick Baker
After the long journey to Birmingham last week Raiders return to Roundstone Lane for game twenty of the season against Canterbury. As we reach two thirds of the way through the season Canterbury sit in second position and Raiders ninth.
Elliott Luke and Jack Maslen were unavailable due to injury so Tom Gwyther started on the wing with Kieran Tomlinson and Jack Lee taking their places on the bench. Kiba Richards moved to No 8 to cover for the long term injury of skipper Liam Perkins. Matt Walsh hopes to return from injury next week.
A mixture of cold and wet weather through the week had left the pitch flat but a little soft. Saturday morning was dry and bright but as kick off time approached showery rain returned.
Raiders kicked off but were soon under pressure after a couple of early errors. The visitors capitalised with an unconverted try after five minutes. (0-5)
For the next fifteen minutes the game was evenly balanced, both sides looked good with the ball in hand and both defended well.
At the end of the first quarter Raiders had a lineout on the Canterbury twenty two metre line. The visitors won possession but it was untidy and John Dawe was through on the ball in a flash, then using his acceleration and power he burst through the defence to score the home side’s first try. Matt McLean converted to make it 7-5.
The lineout was proving difficult for the home side due to the very tall jumpers in the Canterbury forwards. The next Raiders try came after they had lost the ball at a lineout but after a couple of phases the home side regained the ball and Henry Birch counter attacked putting Raiders on the front foot. The ball moved towards the left touchline and a ruck ensued, with only a couple of metres to play with Ben Holt fed Matt McLean down this narrow blindside and from forty five metres out he firstly outpaced the initial cover then stepped inside the full back and eventually using his strength dived over to score with the final defender unable to hold him up. A great individual try which he also converted. (14-7)
The game continued to produce attractive, running rugby and the visitors were next to score with an unconverted try after thirty five minutes. The lead now was reduced to 14-10.
The home side were well worth their lead at this stage, looking dangerous in possession and tackling with great determination in defence.
Half time score: Worthing Raiders 14 Canterbury 10
Canterbury restarted the game after the interval and Raiders were quickly back on the attack playing with plenty of confidence. Unfortunately no further score was achieved during this period.
The visitors then had a sustained period of possession but Raiders defended extremely well to deny them any points until they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and the gap was closed to 14-13.
Canterbury had a further period of possession in the Raiders’ half which eventually produced a converted try to make the score 14-20 after sixty minutes.
The home side were soon back in Canterbury territory and pressing for another score. In the end the score came in a most unusual way for Raiders. A penalty in midfield saw Tom Miller kick to touch inside the Canterbury twenty two metre line. From the catch and drive the home side got further momentum and most of the backs joined the maul. After moving twenty metres forward they were crossing the goal line when the maul was pulled down illegally resulting in a penalty try and a yellow card. So with ten minutes left to play Raiders regained the lead at 21-20.
Canterbury came back strongly and scored two late, converted tries to make the score 21-34.
In the last couple of minutes of the game the home side attacked the Canterbury try line but couldn’t get that important fourth try.
The final gap of thirteen points in no way reflected the closeness of this encounter.
Full time score: Worthing Raiders 21 Canterbury 34
A very frustrating result as a win was on the cards with ten minutes to go and even in the last moments of the game two points were still there to be won.
The performance of the squad against the team in second position was an even contest throughout. The forwards in particular did more than hold their own in the scrum and around the field. At the end of the day there was very little between the two sides.
Thanks to the supporters, who for the umpteenth time this season, cheered their side on in pretty horrible weather conditions.
Referee: Andrew MacNeaney
Tries: Dawe, McLean, Penalty
Cons: Matt McLean x 2
B & W Man of the Match: Jack Lake
- Jack Forrest 14. Harry Forrest 13. Harry Barlow 12. Tom Miller 11. Tom Gwyther (Tomlinson 58 mins) 10. Matt McLean- Captain 9. Ben Holt 1. Henry Birch 2. Jordan Gibson (Gatford 66 mins) 3. Rhys Litterick (Adams 53 mins) 4. George Hammond (Lee 11 mins, Hammond 53 mins) 5. Jack Lake 6. Jon Whittall (Harris 58 mins) 7. John Dawe (Whittall 76 mins) 8. Kiba Richards
- Jack Lee 17. Tom Adams 18. Grant Gatford 19. George Harris 20. Kieran Tomlinson