Match report by Colin Coulson. Photos by Warwick Baker.
This week Raiders entertained Tonbridge Juddians for the first time since their promotion to national League 2 South.
Max Coyle and Jack Maslen were not available for the home side and were replaced by David McIlwaine and Sam Boyland in the starting line-up.
On a sunny, warm afternoon Raiders kicked off in front of a crowd of nearly 600.
Unlike the previous two weeks it was the visitors who made a fast start and scored within three minutes. Not the start the home fans wanted to see but it didn’t take long for Raiders to settle into the game once they got their hands on the ball.
After a high tackle Raiders were awarded a penalty which was kicked to touch for a lineout in the visitors’ 22. From the lineout the ball was moved into midfield and fed to Sam Boyland whose run cut back towards the posts where he scored unopposed. Matt McLean added the conversion to level the scores at 7-7 after ten minutes.
For the next four minutes the visitors put pressure on the home defence but couldn’t find a way through. It wasn’t long before Raiders moved out of defence and started building attacks in Tonbridge Juddians’ territory. After a sustained attack the visitors managed to turn the ball over only to see Matt Walsh charge down the attempted clearance kick and score close to the posts. Matt McLean added the extras to put the home side in a 14-7 lead after twenty minutes.
Raiders continued to gain good possession at scrums and lineouts and were able to keep TJs on the defence. Chances were created but were not converted into tries due to the final pass not quite going to hand on more than one occasion. However the pressure finally told and the visitors gave away a penalty thirty metres from the posts which Matt McLean slotted comfortably to stretch the lead to 17-7.
After a slow start the home side had played good rugby throughout the half to earn a deserved lead at the break.
Half time score: Worthing Raiders 17 Tonbridge Juddians 7
A bit like last week it was the opposition that made the better start to the second half as they scored an unconverted try within a couple of minutes to bring them within one score. 17-12
With the game evenly balanced Jide Ajayi was yellow carded and within a couple of minutes TJs took advantage of the extra man to score a converted try and move into a 17-19 lead.
Raiders made several changes from the bench and once they were back to fifteen players were soon attacking deep in the visitors’ 22. Again chances were created but not quite finished off. However with three minutes left on the clock this pressure resulted in a penalty to the home side which Matt Mclean gratefully accepted and added three points to regain the lead at 20-19.
Tonbridge Juddians still had ambitions to recapture the lead and still looked capable of doing so until with just over a minute left on the clock they conceded another penalty, which after a brief consultation between skipper Liam Perkins and Matt McLean a shot at the posts was the call. Calmly Matt put the ball straight and true between the posts. Raiders had a four point lead at 23-19 but the referee, Nicholas Wood, deemed there was time for a kick off.
The crowd held their breath, the team stayed calm and played out the remaining seconds before getting the ball off the field allowing the referee to blow for full time.
Final Score: Worthing Raiders 23 Tonbridge Juddians 19
The coaches acknowledged this wasn’t the best performance of the season but to win when not at your best is a real bonus. The basis of the win was probably due to the controlled possession provided by the scrum and lineout throughout the game. A well-deserved win after a hard run of matches against the top sides in the league.
Referee: Nicholas Wood
B&W Man of the Match: Joe Spurgeon
Tries: Sam Boyland, Matt Walsh
Cons: Matt McLean x2
Pens: Matt McLean x3
- David McIlwaine 14. Sam Boyland (Leeming 59 mins) 13. Kiba Richards 12. Jack Forrest 11. Sam Hampson (Sargent 53 mins) 10. Matt McLean 9. Matt Walsh 1. Jide Ajayi 2. Will Grief (Luke 59 mins) 3. Dan Sargent (Litterick 29 mins, Hampson 64 mins) 4. Joe Spurgeon (Redmayne 50 mins) 5. Jack Lake 6. Kemp Price 7. John Dawe (Whittall 29 mins, Dawe 64 mins) 8. Liam Perkins – Captain
- Luke Elliott 17. Rhys Litterick 18. Jamie Redmayne 19. Jon Whittall 20. Kieran Leeming.