WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club’s attack on the top three teams of National 2 South in consecutive weeks, took another hit at the weekend, as they suffered a 36-22 home defeat to Richmond.
The Roundstone Lane visitors, despite playing with 14 men from the 25th minute, put in what they have described as their performance of the season to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Having gone down at home to second-placed Jersey the previous week, Raiders remain eighth in the table and face a trip to leaders Ealing at the weekend.
Raiders team manager David Hinchliffe said: “It’s a very tough three weeks for us and on Saturday we were looking for a result. It didn’t help we were missing a couple of players through injury, as well as a couple through illness. So we weren’t on top of our game and when you play a team like Richmond you need to be.
“We came back quite strong and at 26-22 we had the momentum, but we couldn’t make it count.”
Richmond drove over from a lineout after five minutes as Owen Gregory put down for 5-0 lead. But as Alex Nielsen broke on the left he fed Liam Perkins, who touched down, and with Matt McLean absent with a hamstring injury, Joe Govett added the extras to put Worthing ahead.
Richmond added a penalty midway through the half before they had a player red-carded and Raiders’ Paul Dunckley picked up a yellow for an off-the-ball incident.
Richmond added a second try from Tom Drewe, this time converted, and another penalty six minutes before the break, which resulted in a yellow card for Perkins after a hand in the ruck, to stretch their lead to 18-7 at half-time.
Despite being under the cosh in the first half, the second started brighter for Worthing, as Govett sent over a penalty for an offside offence. But Richmond again hit back with a try from Jonan Beto and another penalty to give them a 26-10 advantage.
The momentum swung again as Nielsen broke through for Richard Briggs to cross, which Govett converted, before Nielsen went over to bring the score to within four points at 26-22. Raiders failed to build on this and Richmond’s Jon Wehbe and Peter Clarke ran in two tries to keep their promotion hopes alive.
On their next game and search of a sixth-placed finish, Hinchliffe said: “This week is a big ask away at Ealing, but the next four are certainly winnable and we will be pushing. It’s still possible and we will give it our very best until the end of the season.”
WORTHING: Govett, Nielsen, Sullivan, Dunckley, Briggs, Dudley, Costigan, Emmett, Miles, Bruce, Coxon-Smith, McGowan, Redmayne, Hewick, Perkins. Subs: Webster, Cleveland, Arthur, Marsh, Greenwood.