Old Albanian 13 Worthing Raiders 22

Match report by Colin Coulson

Saturday 25th September 2021

Game four of the season saw Raiders on the road for the second week in a row. The opponents this week were Old Albanian. An excellent pitch to play rugby on but one that Raiders have never won on before. The previous visit was the closest they had come with a 34 all draw. After an excellent start to the season the squad travelled with plenty of confidence.

The selected squad was basically the same as the previous week with some rotation of players from the bench to the starting line-up. Fraser Bruce made his debut on the bench.

The home side had the better of the first stages of the game maintaining possession well and putting pressure on the Raiders’ defence. Eventually they got their reward with a converted try to lead 7-0. Within five minutes the home side increased their lead with a penalty to lead 10-0.

The first score for the visitors wasn’t long in coming. Cam Dobinson made a sniping break from a ruck fifteen metres inside the Raiders’ half, he attempted to chip over the defence, but it was charged down and luckily landed back in Cam’s hands he then fed the ball to his left and Matt McLean scored in the corner. With the conversion narrowly missed the visitors had closed the gap to 10-5.

Old Albanian continued to press the visitors’ defence and were rewarded with a penalty which they kicked to open the gap to 13-5. This was to be the last score in the game for OAs.

Within moments of the restart Matt McLean set off down the right wing and chipped over the advancing defender, Connor Slevin was on hand to scoop up the ball and dive over to score Raiders’ second try of the day. The conversion was missed but the lead was reduced to 13-10 to the home side.

Half time score: Old Albanian 13 Worthing Raiders 10

The match went backwards and forwards for a while in the second half with neither side taking control of the game. A limited number of chances were created by both sides, but none were taken until a tackle on Raiders’ 10-metre line caused the home side to lose the ball and Will Hobson gathered it up and sprinted sixty metres to score to the left of the posts. Matt McLean converted, and Raiders now led by 13-17.

A tight match looked as though it would go all the way to the final whistle with either side able to win. The next score in the game would decide the outcome. Nervous times for all concerned.

The winning score came when Raiders had a lineout just inside the Old Albanian’s 22-metre line. A well organised catch and drive ensued and the maul marched closer to the try line until Jack Lee went to ground to score the bonus point try to stretch the lead to 13-22. The touchline conversion attempt was unsuccessful. The victory was now assured, and the referee blew for no-side.

Full time score: Old Albanian 13 Worthing Raiders 22

An excellent win on the road and another five points in the bag. Three wins and one narrow defeat leave Raiders top of the table at this early stage. Not only a good win but good to see Raiders taking bonus points in every game so far.

Thanks, as usual to the travelling support who will all have gone home very pleased with the result.

Referee: Michael Lamb

Team: 1. Henry Birch – Capt, 2. Nathan Jibulu, 3. Rhys Litterick, 4. Jack Lee, 5. Jack Lake,   6. Will Scholes, 7. Jon Whittall, 8. Kemp Price, 9. Cam Dobinson, 10. Kieran Leeming,  11. Jerome Rudder, 12, Harrison Sims, 13, Jack Forrest, 14. Matt McLean, 15. Connor Slevin

Bench: 16. Ken Dowding, 17, Will Hobson, 18. Fraser Bruce, 19. Rhys Morgan, 20. Will Beer

Scorers:

Tries: McLean, Slevin, Hobson, Lee

Con: McLean