Match report by Colin Coulson and photos by Warwick Baker
As we move into the second half of the season Guernsey Raiders made their first visit to Roundstone Lane. The game in Guernsey at the beginning of the season had been a closely fought contest with Worthing eventually taking the honours.
After the previous three games had been played in wet and windy conditions it was a great relief for players and spectators alike that this Saturday was a dry, sunny day.
The final game of 2018 saw a crowd of well over six hundred in attendance.
Guernsey got the game underway attacking the northern end of the ground. They settled quickly into their forward style of play and were rewarded with an unconverted try after six minutes.
After nine minutes the home side opened their account when from a penalty Matt Walsh took a quick tap and made thirty metres before passing to Kiba Richards to romp in unopposed, Matt McLean converted to make the score 7-5.
Five minutes later Kiba Richards scored his second try and Matt McLean added the extras to stretch the lead to 14-5.
The game lacked fluidity with the visitors kicking to gain positions on the field where they could use their pack to attack from and the home side frustrating themselves and the crowd with too many errors. This said the game was very evenly matched and either side looked as though they might score next. As it turned out it was the home side who regained the lead with a penalty from Matt McLean shortly before the break.
Half time score: Worthing Raiders 17 Guernsey Raiders 15
During the first half the home side’s blue kit and the visitors’ grey kit had been difficult to distinguish between from the side lines and so Worthing emerged for the second half wearing their yellow away strip. Worthing restarted the game now attacking the northern end of the ground.
Within ten minutes the visitors had scored two more tries through their forwards and took a twelve point lead at 17-29.
For most of the game the home side had struggled to get their fast, open style of play to work effectively but as the game entered the final quarter they began to up the tempo and produce better quality which stretched the visitor’s defence.
From a twenty two metre drop out by Guernsey, Worthing made ground through Kiba Richards and from the ensuing ruck Jack Forrest used a ‘kick pass’ to Curtis Barnes on the right wing. He was able to release the ball to the ubiquitous John Dawe who drew the last defender before passing to Matt McLean to score under the posts. Matt converted to close the gap to 24-29.
It looked like the home side could still regain the lead now that they were playing with more confidence, until the visitors scored an interception try to stretch out to a twelve point lead again. (24-36)
With ten minutes left on the clock the task had just become that much more difficult. To Worthing’s credit this setback didn’t alter their resolve and they were soon on the scoreboard again.
With a penalty awarded to Worthing deep in the visitor’s twenty two, rather than a scrum or kick to the corner for the lineout, Matt Walsh tapped the ball and passed it to the forwards to crash up against the Guernsey defence and after nine phases a long pass to John Dawe saw him outstrip the defence to score. With the conversion missed the lead was reduced to 29-36 – still a seven point gap and only a couple of minutes left on the clock.
From the restart Jack Lake secured possession and the ball was moved to the right where Jack Maslen released Curtis Barnes on the Worthing ten metre line. Curtis did what he does best and went outside his opposite winger, then inside the full back before selling a dummy to the last covering defender to score under the posts to give Matt McLean and easy conversion. Scores tied at 36-36 with a minute left on the clock.
The crowd were thoroughly enjoying the fight back from the home side and would probably have settled at this point for a draw, not so the team out on the field.
As the clock went into the red, Worthing had possession and they were not going to give it up. From the scrum in centre field Worthing stretched the visitor’s defence from touchline to touchline and moved closer and closer towards the try line, after twenty three phases John Dawe almost went over but was held up and it was from this final ruck that Matt McLean threw a long pass out to Harry Barlow on the left wing who sprinted the final few metres to touchdown and seal the win. Matt’s conversion brought the game to a close. (43-36)
A brilliant final ten minutes of totally committed rugby from the home side to please the big holiday crowd and earn those vital five points in the league.
After an up and down first half of the season Worthing Raiders end 2018 in a very creditable seventh place in the league with thirty nine points.
Congratulations to the players and coaches and a massive thanks to the crowd for the fantastic support they gave on Saturday.
Full time score: Worthing Raiders 43 Guernsey Raiders 36
Referee: Sam Phillips
Tries: Kiba Richards x 2, Matt McLean, John Dawe, Curtis Barnes, Harry Barlow
Cons: Matt McLean x 5
Pens: Matt McLean
B & W Man of the Match: John Dawe
- Matt McLean 14. Jack Maslen 13. Kiba Richards (Sims 68 mins) 12. Harry Barlow 11. Curtis Barnes 10. Jack Forrest (Richards 71 mins) 9. Matt Walsh – Captain 1. Grant Gatford 2. Elliott Luke (Gibson 31 mins) 3. Rhys Litterick (Sassone 23 mins) 4. Michael Dingle (Adams 63 mins) 5. George Hammond 6. Jack Lake 7. John Dawe 8.Rob Cuffe (Harris 63 mins)
- Jordan Gibson 17. Tom Adams 18. Kieran Sassone 19. George Harris 20. Harrison Sims