Match report Colin Coulson, photos Warwick Baker
Full set of images will be available on https://www.warwickpics.com/worthing.html
Following a week off due to a waterlogged pitch at Esher last week, Raiders entertained Barnes at home in game 24 of the season.
After a week in which it looked like the rain might again be the winner, Friday was a dry, sunny day and by Saturday the pitch was in remarkedly good condition for rugby.
With a season that has been disrupted from the start by injury to key players it was great news for the coaches and supporters to see many of them return all on the same day. The squad that was selected was probably the strongest of the season. Scott Barlow, Liam Perkins, John Dawe, Jack lake, Kariym Irving, Dan Sargent and Kemp Price were all named in the squad.
A strong performance was expected from the home side and a crowd of well over four hundred were in attendance to support the team.
The weather was dry, mild and overcast as Raiders kicked off attacking the northern end of the ground.
The home side started well regaining possession from the kick-off but when a relieving kick by Barnes wasn’t caught cleanly, the luck of the bounce favoured the visitors and they romped in for a converted try to take the early lead 0-7.
Within a few minutes Raiders were on level terms. At a scrum on the visitors’ twenty-two metre line a free kick was awarded to the home side. Calum Waters tapped and was away in a flash, after a couple of phases it was Calum again who made a break between two defenders and even though he was tackled he still managed to stretch out and touchdown. Matt McLean added the extras, 7-7.
Within five minutes the home side extended their lead after controlled, forward play and a couple of half breaks in centre field the ball went wide to Will Beer on the right wing who shrugged off the attempted tacklers to score in the corner. With the conversion missed Raiders took the lead 12-7.
Under pressure the home side conceded two kickable penalties in the space of a minute, and although the first one was missed the second was converted to close the gap to 12-10.
With twenty-five minutes played Raiders were playing attractive rugby, with backs and forwards linking effectively. From a scrum in the visitors’ half a clinical move in the backs created the space on the left wing for Curtis Barnes to race in and score in the corner. The conversion narrowly missed but Raiders had extended their lead to 17-10.
Soon after Calum Waters received a yellow card. The home side readjusted by moving Henry Anscombe to scrum half and Matt McLean to standoff. Barnes were now on the attack but from a scrum near the home side’s try line the backs executed a confident move which was only forced into touch on the visitors’ twenty-two metre line.
Despite being a man down Raiders continued to put pressure on Barnes deep in their own territory. From an attacking scrum the ball was moved patiently through several phases until Matt McLean threw an extravagant dummy and went straight through to score the bonus point try under the posts. He converted to stretch the lead to 24-10.
Barnes were soon on the attack deep in Raiders’ territory and although they seemed to be keeping the visitors at bay with solid defence, this changed when Scott Barlow was yellow carded for a technical infringement and the thirteen men couldn’t prevent the visitors crossing the line for their second try. With the kick missed the lead was reduced to 24-15. No more points were scored in the final minute of the half. Raiders had looked capable of running away with the game at times during the first half but errors and poor discipline prevented them achieving their potential.
Half time score: Worthing Raiders 24 Barnes 15
The second half resumed with Barnes kicking off defending the southern end of the ground and it was the visitors who were next to score with a penalty to close the lead to 24-18.
With ten minutes gone in the half Scott Barlow returned to the field and Kariym Irving replaced Will Beer on the right wing. Kariym’s first touch of the ball was a long, floated pass from centre field which he received on the touchline deep in Raiders’ territory. He set off with his usual electric pace and outstripped the initial defence before running through the final attempted tackle to score an outstanding try in the corner. With the conversion missed the lead was now 29-15.
From the restart the ball was secured by the forwards and Calum Waters made a typical break, skipping in between the defenders and making fifty metres before being tackled ten metres from the line.
Henry Anscombe then had a long-range penalty shot into the wind which had the distance but just slid past the left-hand post.
With twenty minutes gone Kemp Price and Jack Lake replaced Jon Whittall and Scott Barlow. A few minutes later Grant Gatford and Dan Sargent replaced Henry Birch and Rhys Litterick.
As in the first half errors and ill-discipline were preventing the home side from dominating the game completely although they were certainly playing attractive, open rugby which was good to watch.
Raiders scored again after twenty three minutes of the half when Curtis Barnes collected the ball on the left wing and then went across the field tempting players to tackle him but neatly evading them until in centre field he slipped the ball to Jack Forrest who breached the defensive line and shrugged off the final tacklers to touch down near the posts. Matt McLean converted to extend the lead to 36-18.
Barnes continued to play their part in this exhilarating game and hit back with an unconverted try to close the gap to 36-23.
The final Raiders’ try demonstrated outstanding skills from several players. Firstly, Liam Perkins high overhead catch to set up play, followed by Matt McLean’s chip over the defence which he caught on the full and Calum Waters’ ability to be on Matt’s shoulder to take the offload and sprint in for the touchdown. Matt McLean concluded the scoring for the home side when he converted to take the score to 43-23.
With six minutes left to play Grant Gatford received a yellow card for a technical offence and the home side were forced to defend under great pressure from the visitors.
The final score of the day was a converted try for Barnes which gave them a bonus point, 43-30.
Raiders then held out comfortably until the referee blew for full time.
Full time score: Worthing Raiders 43 Barnes 30
A good five-point win with patches of outstanding play from Raiders. Well done also to Barnes who played their part in making this an exciting game to watch. As always, the players and coaches would like to thank the crowd for the excellent support they give every week home and away.
Referee: Hamish Grant
B&W Man of the Match: Calum Waters
Tries: Waters x 2, Beer, McLean, Barnes, Irving, J Forrest
Con: McLean x 4
1. Henry Birch (Gatford 67 min) 2. Elliott Luke 3. Rhys Litterick (Sargent 67 min)
4. Scott Barlow (Lake 61 min) 5. Jack Lee 6. Jon Whittall (Price 61 min) 7. John Dawe 8. Liam Perkins – Captain (Whittall 77 min) 9. Calum Waters 10. Henry Anscombe 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Kieran Leeming 13. Jack Forrest 14. Will Beer (Irving 49 min)15. Matt McLean (Birch 76 min)
Bench 16. Kemp Price 17. Dan Sargent 18. Grant Gatford 24. Jack Lake 25. Kariym Irving