Esher 39 Worthing Raiders 19
Saturday 23rd April 2022
Match report and photos – Colin Coulson
Raiders final home game of the season had to be cancelled the previous week as Westcliff were unable to field a side. Now they face two games on the road to complete the 21/22 season. The opponents this week were Esher, who look very likely to be league champions.
With a few players unavailable the coaches were still able to select eighteen of the squad that should have played last week. Joining the squad for this game were Charlie Spencer and Max Ravaudet. Jon Whittall was playing his 150th league game for Raiders and Matt McLean his 290th.
A very large crowd had assembled on a sunny afternoon to witness this twenty-ninth game of the league season. The ground was very firm and dusty. Raiders kicked off playing into the strong wind and were quickly on the defensive. The first half was a tale of errors and penalties conceded for the visitors. Esher dominated possession and territory. They used the wind to gain ground and kept the visitors under constant pressure with and without the ball.
Raiders defended well but could not prevent converted tries being scored against them in the second and twelfth minutes of the game. Added to this the home side kicked two penalties and with a quarter of the game played the lead was 20-0.
The visitors couldn’t build any real pressure against the home side during this period. Having built a 20-0 lead in the first quarte, the remaining three quarters of the match were all square with both sides scoring nineteen points.
Having had a very poor first twenty minutes Raiders had settled the ship and conceded no more points before the half time break.
Half time score: Esher 20 Worthing Raiders 0
Raiders needed to score next but as the second half got going it was Esher who scored another converted try after nine minutes to open the gap to 27-0. Three minutes later they scored an interception try that was also converted and now the lead was 34-0.
Raiders used their bench players but nothing seemed to be working for them. In the nineteenth minute of the half Esher scored again, but couldn’t convert, 39-0.
It wasn’t until the final twenty minutes that the visitors started to play with the pace and skill their supporters were used to. Once they got going, they scored three tries in twelve minutes through Dan Sargent, Jack Forrest and skipper Kemp Price. Matt McLean converted the first two of these, 39-19.
The visitors tried hard in the last few minutes to get a fourth try to earn a bonus point but it was not to be and Esher ended as victors 39-19 and now only need two points to become National Two South league champions.
Full time score: Esher 39 Worthing Raiders 19
This was one of the most disappointing performances of the season which was down to the slow start that ruined any real chance of victory.
Next week Raiders end their season with a visit to Guernsey. The Club will be hoping for a positive finish and the travelling support an enjoyable weekend on the island.
Referee: John Cook
Try: Sargent, Forrest, Price
Con: McLean x 2
- Dan Sargent 2. Elliott Luke 3. Rhys Litterick 4. Will Scholes 5. Jack Lake 6. Kemp Price – Captain 7. Elliott Quinton 8. Frank Taggart 9. Cam Dobinson 10. Kieran Leeming Will Beer 12. Harrison Sims 13. Jack Forrest 14. Matt McLean 15. Josh Tusler
- Max Ravaudet 17. Will Hobson 18. Jon Whittall 19. Charlie Spencer 20. Tom Gwyther