Raiders get out of jail with late win

Joe Govett in action against Southend
Joe Govett in action against Southend

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club scrum-half Joe Govett admitted that his side used their get-out-of-jail free card after a dramatic late 30-28 win at home to Southend on Saturday.

Govett converted Ollie Richards’ try with the last play of the game to give Worthing a bonus-point win in National 2 South that even head coach Kieron Dawson admitted that his team did not deserve.

Raiders trailed Southend 28-23 as they put immense pressure on the Southend defence in the closing seconds. Southend infringements led to two scrums just yards from the try line – with the visitors Daniel Legge sinbinned for the first offence.

From the second scrum, Worthing broke from the back and Richards found a gap to touch down and Govett kicked the conversion to keep Raiders in pole position in the title race and seal their 13th win from 13 home games this season.

Raiders were without their two leading try scorers Alex Nielsen (unavailable) and Jack Maslen (hamstring injury) and failed to hit top gear throughout but the late action could end up proving crucial in the run-in.

Govett said: “It feels like we used our get-out-of-jail free card as Southend are a great outfit and gave us a fright.

“We got off lightly by winning but it could be a late turning point as we can only control what we do.

“It was the first of five games to complete our goal and there’s still a long way to go but there’s a lot of relief that we’ve got the win today.”

On his kick to win the match, which some of his team-mates could not bear to watch, Govett said: “I’ve had a couple like that this year now. I had the one at Hartpury earlier in the season and that one today made up for the two I missed earlier but it’s all six of one and half-a-dozen of the other.”

Raiders were set to take just a losing bonus-point from the game when Richards’ try would have earned them three points – two for the draw and one for the four-try bonus point. Govett’s conversion, however, then earned Worthing two extra points for the victory.

Henley remain seven points behind Raiders, with a game in hand, after a 41-9 win at Chinnor, while Hartpury College are 15 points adrift of Worthing with a game in hand.

Redruth look to have slipped out of contention for a top-two finish after a fourth successive defeat leaves them 12 points behind Henley having played a game more.

Raiders head to Clifton on Saturday.

Full match report and pictures of the Southend win in this week’s paper.