Worthing Raiders 40

Sevenoaks 28

Saturday 16th March 2024

Match report and photos Colin Coulson

With only four games left in the season and still sitting too close to the relegation places for comfort, Raiders welcomed Sevenoaks to Roundstone Lane for this must win match.

The home side were still without Dan Macadams and Will Rigelsford who were away representing the Navy in France. Fraser Bruce, Charlie Clare and Ed Grinsted were also unavailable. Cam Dobinson returned at scrum half and Charlie Spencer and Harry Forrest were on the bench. Overall, this only created three changes to the squad that played at Henley the previous week.

In the first few minutes of the game, it was the visitors who had control of the ball. They moved the ball well but couldn’t break the solid defence of the home side.

An excellent clearance kick by Cam Dobinson from behind his own goal-line saw the game move to a lineout near the halfway line. Moments after Sevenoaks were penalised for a deliberate knock on and the resulting touch finder from Louis Ellis gave Raiders a lineout on the twenty-two-metre line. From the lineout the ball was moved to centre field, Louis Ellis made a break that took him beyond the first line of defence and then he gave a neat pass to Curtis Barnes who ran in to score the first points of the afternoon. Louis Ellis converted and the hosts had a 7-0 lead after eleven minutes.

Raiders conceded two quick penalties and, on both occasions, Sevenoaks kicked to touch to have good attacking lineout positions. From both the home side repelled the attacks and came away unscathed.

The hosts had a try disallowed for a forward pass after a fluent backs’ move down the left but only two minutes later Jack Doorey-Palmer touched down after a well-worked catch and drive. Louis Ellis added the extras to extend the lead to 14-0 after twenty minutes of the half had elapsed.

The visitors then hit back with a converted try to close the gap to 14-7 and then as Raiders were building an attack a pass went astray as Jack Forrest lost his footing and Sevenoaks received the gift of a try from the loose ball. With a successful conversion, and totally against the run of play the scores were level at 14-14 after twenty-five minutes.

Undeterred by this Raiders created more excellent chances down the left-hand side of the pitch, but were unable to turn them into scores until in the thirty-first minute slick passing saw Jack Forrest have a straightforward run in down the left touchline. With the conversion missed the home side had retaken the lead at 19-14.

Raiders dominated possession and territory for the rest of the half.

When Sevenoaks had a goal-line dropout, they tried to take a short one, but as it didn’t travel the required five metres the hosts had a scrum on the five-metre line. The visitors gave away two penalties as they tried to prevent conceding any more points, Raiders ran each of these and battered away at the defensive wall of their opponents.

Commendably the visitors sound defensive work prevented the home side from adding to their tally before the break.

The hosts went into half time hoping they wouldn’t regret the errors and missed chances that had occurred in the first forty minutes.

Half time score: Worthing Raiders 19 Sevenoaks 14

The visitors restarted the game after the break and with only a minute played Raiders gifted them an interception try which, after it was converted gave them the lead for the first time at 19-21.

For the hosts things got worse when Frank Taggart was yellow carded in the eighth minute.

Despite these setbacks the fourteen men defended soundly and got back on the attack deep in Sevenoaks’ territory.

After pounding away with the forwards on the visitors’ five-metre line the ball was then moved to the backs and Jack Forrest scored his second try of the afternoon. Tom Derrick converted and Raiders retook the lead at 26-21 with seventeen minutes of the half played and a bonus point secured.

Sevenoaks worked hard to retake the lead but the hosts’ defence was solid and rebuffed their efforts.

After more excellent back play, Curtis Barnes had an exhilarating dash down the left wing and when the move broke down the ball ended up in touch. The hosts had the throw in at the lineout. From here they set up a driving maul and Ben Featherstone burst out of the mass of bodies to dive over the line and touch down for Raiders’ fifth try. Tom Derrick was again successful with the kick and a bit of breathing space had been established at 33-21.

With five minutes left in the game some skilful, running rugby from the visitors saw them score a well-constructed try which was converted.

With the score now at 33-28 it looked like Raiders would have a nervous last four minutes but not so, as the backs once more spread the ball to Curtis Barnes on the left wing and he completed the try scoring with his second and Raiders’ sixth try of the afternoon. The final kick of the game saw Tom Derrick add the extras to bring the game to a close with victory for the hosts.

Full time score: Worthing Raiders 40 Sevenoaks 28

This was an entertaining game for the neutrals in the three hundred and fifty crowd but for Raiders the outcome was all that mattered.

Raiders should have won this game without so much stress. Having scored six good tries, they failed to convert several other chances into points, even when they looked odds on to score. They made errors that allowed the visitors to stay in the game and they showed that given chances they were good at taking them.

The victory earned another five points to help move ten points clear of the relegation zone.

With four games left there is still plenty to be done to be certain of National 2 league rugby next season.

Referee: Peter Buchanan

Attendance: 350

Enzo’s Restaurant Man of the Match: Will Gearing-Grief


Tries: Barnes (2), Doorey-Palmer, J Forrest (2), Featherstone

Con: Ellis (2), Derrick (3)


  1. Balazs Magda 2. Jack Doorey-Palmer 3. Ben Featherstone 4. Jack Lake 5. Ollie Crow 6. Alfie Ambrose 7. Will Gearing-Grief 8. Frank Taggart 9. Cam Dobinson 10. Louis Ellis 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Harrison Sims 13. Jack Forrest 14. Will Rawlinson 15. Tom Bowen


  1. Grant Gatford 17. Fin Glass 18. Tom Derrick 19. Charlie Spencer 20. Harry Forrest