Worthing Raiders 32

Bury St Edmunds 31

Saturday 24th February 2024

Match report and photos – Colin Coulson

This week Raiders faced fourth placed Bury St Edmunds from Suffolk. Games between these two sides are always played in good spirit and usually produce high scoring entertainment for the spectators.

Ed Grinsted, Louis Ellis and Curtis Barnes returned to the squad replacing Ethan Clarke, Dan Macadams and Will Rigelsford who were all unavailable, the latter two playing for the Navy.

Raiders find themselves in a real battle in the basement of the league making this game a must win after losing the previous week at St Albans.

After a very wet week on the South Coast the rain eventually relented about thirty minutes before kick-off. Although the sun shone throughout the game the pitch was very heavy underfoot.

Bury kicked off playing towards the southern end of the ground. They made a powerful start to the game and within five minutes they had scored two converted tries to take the lead, 0-14. Raiders had suffered a similar start seven days earlier. This certainly wasn’t what the home side needed.

A combination of basic errors, wrong decisions and giving away penalties allowed the visitors to build a head of steam and by the time twenty-four minutes had been played the visitors added a penalty and another converted try to their tally to lead 0-24.

It looked bleak for the hosts and thoughts of falling deeper into the relegation battle would have passed through the minds of many of the faithful supporters.

Bury appeared to be building a big score but remarkably it was the home side that scored the next thirty-two points, with the visitors only managing one more score with the last play of the game.

The home side gradually got back in the game by putting up some outstanding defence which caused the visitors to make mistakes under pressure.

Raiders were now able to build meaningful attacks based on a steady supply of possession from both scrum and lineout.

The pressure exerted by Raiders caused Bury to give away several penalties in the latter part of the half. This allowed Harrison Sims to provide great attacking opportunities with his accurate touch finders.

With thirty-eight minutes played, one such touch kick gave Raiders a lineout within ten metres of the Bury try line. The ball was cleanly caught and a driving maul moved slowly towards the try line, when progress was stopped Caleb Ashworth peeled off the back of the maul and powered his way through a couple of tackles to get the home side’s first try of the afternoon. The try was unconverted but confidence had visibly risen amongst the players, 5-24.

Within a minute, two further penalties against Bury allowed Harrison Sims to use his boot to give the home side another lineout within striking distance of the visitors’ try line.

As the clock moved into the red at the end of the first half, the hosts again set up a catch and drive which allowed Will Gearing-Grief to touch down in the same spot as the previous try. The difficult conversion went wide but with the score at 10-24 Raiders wee back in the game.

Half time score: Worthing Raiders 10 Bury St Edmunds 24

Raiders restarted the game after the interval now attacking the southern end of the ground. As usual they rotated players from the bench to maintain the tempo of the game on the energy-sapping pitch.

Raiders continued from where they left off at the end of the first half by kicking a penalty to touch some fifteen metres from the visitors’ try line. From the lineout they again set up a driving maul that forced the Bury pack towards their own line at a rate of knots. As the maul neared the line, it was brought down and the referee awarded a penalty try. Seven minutes into the half and the gap was reduced to 17-24.

The hosts were now displaying excellent running skills which were stretching the visitors’ defence. The pressure created caused the visitors to give away penalties more than once.

With thirteen minutes played Bury were defending on their own line. A ruck formed and the visitors had possession but as the ball emerged Ed Grinsted produced a real opportunist’s try when he pounced on the ball as the scrumhalf attempted to pick it up. The referee consulted with his assistant before awarding the score. The conversion flew just wide but it was now only a two-point gap that separated the sides at 22-24.

When Bury were awarded penalties they took shots at the posts in an effort to extend their now flimsy lead. In the fourteenth and sixteenth minutes they missed two such attempts.

Raiders were dominating the play and midway through the half they scored the try of the match. The hosts were defending aggressively in their own territory when Jack Forrest stripped the ball in a tackle. The ball was moved quickly to Harrison Sims who made a powerful break splitting the Bury defence. When tackled he off-loaded to Cam Dobinson who then passed to Tom Bowen. He made further inroads into the scrambling defence, before releasing Curtis Barnes wide on the left. With twenty metres to go he brushed aside the attempted tackles and sprinted in to score the type of try the home supporters are used to seeing. The try was unconverted but for the first time in the match the hosts took the lead 27-24.

The home side were now dominant and when they lost the ball deep in Bury territory their powerful tackling in defence quickly earned them a penalty. This was again kicked into touch by Harrison Sims. This time the lineout was on the Bury twenty-two-metre line. Again, they set up a driving maul which went all the way to the try line for Ben Featherstone to touch down. This was unconverted but gave a little breathing space as the lead extended to eight points at 32-24.

The final play of the game saw Bury score a converted try to bring the score to 32-31.

This brought the game to its conclusion with a win for Raiders.

Full time score: Worthing Raiders 32 Bury St Edmunds 31

This was a great performance by the hosts coming from coming from 24-0 after twenty-five minutes, to score six tries and take five much needed points from the game.

The spirit, effort and skill on show was outstanding.

There were many performances worthy of Enzo’s Man of the Match but the coaches decided Fraser Bruce’s contribution to the game was the most deserving.

Despite it being a Six Nations International day a crowd of nearly three hundred and fifty turned up to witness this extraordinary performance by Raiders.


Referee: Alex Rose

Attendance: 336

Enzo’s Italian Restaurant Man of the Match: Fraser Bruce


Tries: Ashworth, Gearing-Grief, Penalty, Grinsted, Barnes, Featherstone


1.     Fraser Bruce 2. Will Gearing-Grief 3. Ben Featherstone 4. Jack Lake 5. Ed Grinsted 6. Ollie Crow 7. Joe Knight 8. Frank Taggart 9. Charlie Clare 10. Cam Dobinson 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Harrison Sims 13. Jack Forrest – Captain

14. Will Rawlinson 15. Tom Bowen


16. Caleb Ashworth 17. Balazs Magda 18. Louis Ellis 19. Tom Derrick 20. Peter Drummond