Match report by Colin Coulson. Photos by Warwick Baker and Andy Wales.
Saturday 16th December
This week’s game brings us to the half way point in the season and is the first of two home games in a row before the Christmas break.
Selection showed the return of David McIlwaine, Jack Maslen, Kiba Richards, Matt Walsh and Joe Spurgeon to the squad.
After the overnight frost it was a bright, sunny day and by kick off time the pitch was in perfect condition for an open, running game.
Raiders received the kick off and attacked the southern end of the ground in the first half.
Just like a couple of other games this season it was the visitors who got on the scoreboard first with a converted try and a penalty to take a ten nil lead after thirteen minutes.
Position and possession were pretty even throughout the middle part of the half. Both sides used the ball well but made errors and thus didn’t manage to score any points.
After an excellent drive from a lineout the ball was moved across the field and Jon Whittall was just tackled short of the line and the visitors cleared safely.
Just on the half hour mark Raiders’ pressure inside the Barnstaple 22 metre area resulted in a try for Jide Ajayi which Matt McLean converted to bring the score to 7-10.
With three minutes left in the half Barnstaple were caught in possession and did not release the ball as Jide Ajayi won an excellent turnover. The visitors were penalised and Matt McLean slotted a thirty five metre kick to draw the game at 10-10.
From the restart the home side controlled the ball for the final couple of minutes before the whistle went for the end of the half.
Half time score: Raiders 10 Barnstaple 10
In truth Raiders hadn’t had their best forty minutes of rugby in the first half and everyone expected to see a better performance after the interval. The home supporters didn’t have to wait long to see another try for Raiders.
Jack Forrest’s restart allowed Liam Perkins to out jump the Barnstaple forwards and tap the ball back, Raiders’ forwards made ground and then the ball was moved across the backline, when it reached Jack Forrest in the centre he ghosted through the defence and gave the inside pass to Matt McLean to touch down. The latter added the extras. 17-10 with only a minute of the half gone.
Barnstaple’s reply was almost instant as they responded with an unconverted try. (17-15)
From the restart Liam Perkins caught the ball amidst the big Barnstaple forwards and after several phases Matt McLean was again on hand to score the try under the posts. With another successful conversion by Matt the lead extended to 24-17.
Only minutes later Matt completed his hat trick after a classy break and off load by David McIlwaine allowed Kemp Price to give Matt the scoring pass. This was the bonus point try and put the score at 29-15.
After a clever grubber kick towards the corner by Matt Walsh, Raiders had a line out near the visitors’ line and after applying plenty of pressure Dan Sargent was held up over the line.
From the scrum Liam Perkins picked up from the base and fed Matt Walsh, he in turn gave it the David McIlwaine who went between two defenders who managed to drag him to the ground but not before he was able to stretch out and score the fifth try for the home side. Another clean strike from Matt McLean added the extras to put the score at 36-15.
The game started to look safe but the visitors had other ideas and it was they who completed the scoring with two tries in the final six minutes.
The second half had been particularly entertaining with both sides playing their part. With the final score 36-29 the home side secured another five point victory and the visitors earned two points for their efforts.
There were many excellent individual performances from the Raiders’ players with Jide Ajayi outstanding in the pack but Matt McLean was B&W Man of the Match contributing 26 points on the day. Matt remains the leading points scorer in the league with 169 points.
Support from the near 450 crowd was excellent and much appreciated as always.
Final Score: Worthing Raiders 36 Barnstaple 29
Referee: Charlie Gayther
B&W Man of the Match: Matt McLean
Tries: Jide Ajayi, Matt McLean x 3, David McIlwaine
Cons: Matt McLean x 4
Pen: Matt McLean
- David McIlwaine 14. Jack Maslen (Miller 79 mins) 13. Kiba Richards 12. Jack Forrest 11. Sam Boyland 10.Matt McLean 9.Matt Walsh 1. Jide Ajayi (Sargent 54 mins) 2. Elliott Luke (Grief 63 mins) 3. Dan Sargent (Litterick 40 mins) 4. Joe Spurgeon (Redmayne 63 mins) 5. Jack Lake (Dingle 79 mins) 6. Kemp Price 7. Jon Whittall 8. Liam Perkins – Captain
- Will Grief 17. Rhys Litterick 18. Michael Dingle 19. Jamie Redmayne 20. Ross Miller