Match report by Colin Coulson. Photos by Warwick Baker.
Saturday 10th February
It was a very wet, dark and windy day at Roundstone Lane for the visit of seventh in the table Bury St Edmunds. After a fine performance away to Cinderford the previous week raiders were looking for their second win of 2018.
Jack Forrest, David McIlwaine, Rhys Litterick and Joe Spurgeon were all unavailable so selection had caused a few headaches for the coaches this week. Jide Ajayi returned to the pack and Will Sanderson made his first start for Raiders on the wing.
Despite the foul weather and live International rugby on the telly a healthy crowd of over three hundred were in attendance.
Kieran Leeming kicked off for Raiders as they attacked the southern end of the ground in the first half.
As both sides tried to come to terms with the weather conditions it was BSE that settled quicker and as has happened in previous games the home side found themselves behind by ten points after ten minutes.
The visitors used the wind well to keep the home side in their own territory. Kicking out of defence into the strong wind was a risky business for Raiders so they tried to keep ball in hand as much as possible. Often they gained ground in this manner but errors occurred under pressure with the wet, muddy ball and BSE kicked well to put the home side back on defensive duty.
As the first quarter of the game was coming to a close Raiders had a line out on the visitors’ five metre line. A good catch and drive resulted in Will Grief touching down to open the home side’s account, Matt McLean added the extras. (7-10)
The visitors extended their lead to 7-15 with an unconverted try just after the half hour mark.
As half time approached Raiders were able to maintain pressure on the visitors in their own twenty two metre area. From a lineout they moved the ball through several phases, creeping slowly closer towards the visitors’ try line. Eventually Kiba Richards cut a decisive line through the defence to score almost under the posts. Matt McLean successfully converted to close the gap to 14-15 at the half time break.
Half time score: Worthing Raiders 12 Bury St Edmunds 15
Having played into the wind and rain in the first half it was hoped that with the elements in their favour after the break Raiders would be able to score the points necessary to get the win.
The home side made an excellent start to the second half and quickly had BSE on the defence deep in their own half. From a scrum twenty metres out Raiders completed six phases at close quarters before Jon Whittall scuttled over under the posts. With Matt McLean’s conversion the home side now led 21-15.
As conditions deteriorated underfoot it was difficult for either side to play open rugby. Handling errors continued to occur for both sides preventing any real continuity in play.
The visitors kicked a penalty to close the gap to 21-18 and with nearly fifteen minutes left to play the home crowd knew they were in for another nail biting end to the game.
Bury spent a lot of time deep in Raiders’ territory making good use of their powerful scrum and lineout to mount repeated attacks on the home try line. To their credit Raiders’ defence was excellent and prevented any further score by the visitors.
Despite the conditions Raiders were able to play some good rugby but could not round it off with a fourth try. With five minutes left on the clock Matt McLean kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 24-18
The home side spent the final few minutes under great pressure close to their own try line. They defended with great spirit until the whistle sounded for the end of the game.
Full time: Worthing Raiders 24 Bury St Edmunds 18
Not a game of fast, flowing rugby but none the less a very exciting, close fought encounter. The win moves Raiders up to eighth place in the league.
Thanks to the home crowd for braving the elements to support the team, it is much appreciated especially in such a tight game as this.
Referee: Charlie Gayther
B&W Man of the Match: Michael Dingle
Tries: Will Grief, Kiba Richards, Jon Whittall
Cons: Matt McLean x 3
Pen: Matt McLean
- Kieran Leeming 14. Jack Maslen 13. Kiba Richards 12. Max Coyle 11. Will Sanderson (Walsh 20 mins) 10. Matt McLean 9. Sam Boyland 1. George Head (Gatford 40 mins) 2. Will Grief (Luke 56 mins) 3. Jide Ajayi (Head 79 mins) 4. Michael Dingle (Redmayne 67 mins) 5. Jack Lake 6. Kemp Price 7. Jon Whittall (Dawe 56 mins) 8. Liam Perkins – CaptainReplacements:
- Elliott Luke 17. Grant Gatford 18. Jamie Redmayne 19. John Dawe 20. Matt Walsh