Worthing Raiders 51 Birmingham & Solihull 37

Match report by Colin Coulson and photos by Warwick Baker

Week five and Raiders second home game of the season saw newly promoted Birmingham & Solihull Bees visiting Roundstone Lane for the first time.

For Raiders Jon Whittall was unavailable, so George Harris came into the starting line-up and Jack Lee took his place on the bench. Front row rotation saw Tom Adams start at tight head and Grant Gatford move to the bench. Otherwise the squad was the same as last week.

Saturday’s weather was in complete contrast to the pouring rain of last week at Clifton. A hot, sunny, dry day was perfect for open running rugby and the crowd was not disappointed with the thirteen try spectacle that followed.

Bees kicked off defending the southern end of the ground. The home side were unable to secure the ball and within a minute the visitors had their first points with an unconverted try. (0-5)

In the early stages Bees saw most of the possession and Raiders had to defend. By the eighth minute the home side were getting a platform to play from and Matt McLean opened their account with a penalty to reduce the gap to 3-5.

Over the next ten minutes the game ebbed and flowed with no further score. With nearly a quarter of the game gone Raiders had a lineout on their own twenty two metre line. The ball was won cleanly and moved across the backline, after several phases Matt McLean made a break through the visitor’s defence taking play well into their half of the pitch. After several more phases, showing control and patience, skipper Liam Perkins crashed over for Raiders’ first try of the day. With the conversion missed the score was 8-5.

From the restart Raiders secured possession, Matt Walsh put in a box kick which allowed his team mates to tackle the defender who fielded the ball, he spilled it and Curtis Barnes was on hand to pick up and sprint off to score. Matt McLean added the extras. (15-5)

Bees always looked dangerous and were rewarded with three points from a penalty. (15-8)

The scrum was a good contest throughout the match and when Bees controlled the ball at the feet of their number 8 and started to move forward, it looked as if the home side might be punished, until the ball popped out of the back of the scrum and Matt Walsh was on it in a flash and away down the field. After making thirty metres he was able to give the ball to Matt McLean to outstrip the defence and score a try which he converted. (22-8)

Despite the score Bees were still a threat whenever they had the ball and with a few minutes left in the half they kicked another penalty to close the score to 22-11.

Half time score: Worthing Raiders 22 Birmingham & Solihull 11

The game resumed with the home side kicking off and immediately putting the visitors under pressure. The first scrum of the half was awarded to Bees but the Raiders pushed them backwards and took the ball against the head. Matt Walsh put in a telling kick towards the corner flag and the last defender who collected the ball was bundled into touch by Curtis Barnes. The lineout that resulted was in a good attacking position but the visitors prevented any further score at this time.

With Raiders on the attack a wayward pass was intercepted by the Bees and an unconverted try resulted. (22-15)

The home side responded quickly from a scrum in centre field, Matt Walsh moved the ball to the left and Jack Forrest broke through the defence and out ran the attempted tackles to score an excellent individual try. (27-15)

Within a couple of minutes the lead was extended when Jack Forrest scored his second try of the game with the conversion from Matt McLean the lead opened up to 34-16.

With a quarter of the game to go it looked like a comfortable Raiders’ win was on the cards however you have to give Bees great credit for their fight back over the next ten minutes which resulted in them scoring three times and taking the lead 34-37.

The home crowd were stunned by the change in fortunes. The game again became very competitive and the outcome uncertain. Nervy times for the Roundstone Faithful.

Raiders dug deep and renewed their efforts, with only ten minutes left on the clock and Bees in possession aggressive defence from the home side forced the visitors to drop the ball, Curtis Barnes kicked ahead and John Dawe scooped it up to go over and score. With the conversion missed Raiders held a narrow two point lead. (39-37)

Nerves were quickly settled when Matt McLean scored and converted his own try, (46-37).

The result was sealed moments later when John Dawe crossed in the corner for his second try taking the score to 51-37.

Full time score: Worthing Raiders 51 Birmingham & Solihull 37

Thirteen tries and lots of exciting rugby for the near 500 crowd to enjoy. Both sides had played their part in this highly entertaining game.

For Raiders much about their play was to be admired but as the coaches said after the game silly errors that allow sides back into the contest must be eradicated.

Pleasing to see that at this point in the season, though it is early days, we sit in sixth place and have scored more points than anyone else in the league. 193 so far.

Great support from the crowd again today was vital in inspiring the team in those final ten minutes.

Referee: Calum Howard

Scorers:

Tries: Perkins, Matt McLean x 2, Barnes, Forrest x 2, Dawe x 2

Cons: Matt McLean x 4

Pens: Matt McLean x 1

B & W Man of the Match: Matt Walsh

Team:

  1. Jack Maslen 14. Curtis Barnes (Sims 78 mins) 13. Kiba Richards (Sims 59 mins) 12. Jack Forrest 11. Sam Boyland 10. Matt McLean 9. Matt Walsh (Sims 44 mins, Walsh 46 mins) 1. Henry Birch (Cook 78 mins) 2. Elliott Luke (Grief 53 mins) 3. Tom Adams (Gatford 32 mins, Adams 61 mins) 4. Michael Dingle (Lee 32 mins) 5. Jack Lake 6. George Harris 7. Jon Dawe 8. Liam Perkins – Captain

Bench:

  1. Will Grief 17. Grant Gatford 18. Sam Cook 19. Harrison Sims 23. Jack Lee

Attendance: 485

Full set of images can be viewed @ https://www.warwickpics.com/season-2018—2019.html

Full set of images can be viewed @ https://www.warwickpics.com/season-2018—2019.html