WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club bounced back from two successive defeats with a 39-20 victory over bottom-of-the-table Westcombe Park on Saturday.
The win took Worthing back up to second place in the table, six points behind leaders Richmond, and head coach Kieron Dawson said: “We’re on course for our goals and are very happy heading into Christmas in second place.
“It was a pretty comfortable win but it was an error-strewn performance again as we missed quite a lot of chances. However, it was good to get the bonus-point win and some of the other teams faltered a bit, like we have been recently.
“Jamie Redmayne got a hat-trick and was exceptional, as was Joe Heaver, who got the man-of-the-match award and has recently come to us from Chichester University.
“Sam Hewick also did well and the backs looked very dangerous.”
Worthing started brightly and touched down two tries in the opening five minutes.
Redmayne went over from the front of a line-out and Alex Nielsen then touched down, with Matt McLean adding the extras to give Raiders a 12-0 lead.
Westcombe Park responded on 15 minutes when Luke Giles carved out an opening and passed to Tom Hockedy, who went over and Giles converted.
Worthing then launched wave after wave of attacks and, after Park had a player sinbinned, Redmayne crashed over from a scrum for an unconverted try.
Kieran Leeper got Park’s second try, after consultation with the touch judge, from Ben Hough’s chip forward but a McLean penalty was the last action of the half to make the half-time score 20-12.
Giles reduced the lead to five points with a penalty on 55 minutes but Raiders’ response was immediate as sub Kiba Richards went over.
Nielsen then made good ground before passing to Redmayne, who was on hand to complete his hat-trick and McLean’s conversion made the score 32-15.
Niki Davies got Park’s third try in the last five minutes but Raiders had the last say when Richards crossed for his second try and McLean converted.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Dawson said: “We’ve had a nice little run in the first half of the season and we’ll just look to consolidate in second place, or even push higher to try to get promotion.
“It’s in our hands, really, as we’ve still got all of the other top sides to play.”
Dawson admits the Christmas break will give his side a chance to recover from injuries and knocks and bruises.
Charlie McGowan will be back from suspension when Raiders next play on January 7 at Shelford, and Rob Smith will be back from injury.
Ben Dudley and James Arthur are also expected to return from injury mid-to-late January to further boost Raiders, while Dawson may also look to bring in a couple of new faces.
RAIDERS: Cleveland, Miles, Burns, Stutchbury, Stubbs, Hewick, Heaver, Redmayne; Costigan, Luke, Nielsen, Clayton, Dunckley, Maslen, McLean. Subs: Emmerson, Pointing, Iraizoz, Govett, Richards.