WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club held on to record a thrilling 27-25 win over Redruth on Saturday in National 2 South.
Raiders have now started the season with two successive wins but they were almost defeated in the closing stages on Saturday when Redruth missed a penalty.
Worthing substitute Jack Metters was penalised for not releasing the ball with just two minutes to go but Redruth’s Matthew Shepherd screwed the resulting penalty, in a good position just to the right of the posts, wide of the left-hand post.
Raiders had got the first points of the match after just two minutes when Matt McLean sent over a penalty but the strength and power of Redruth, who were relegated from National League Division 1 last season, then came to the fore.
Tom Duncan drove over after some powerful and skilful mauling on eight minutes but Aaron Penberthy was off-target with the conversion, as he was again five minutes later after Owen Hambly touched down.
Penberthy had his kicking boots on when he sent over a penalty to give the visitors a 13-3 lead after 20 minutes but Worthing then began to come more into the match.
McLean missed a penalty from in front of the posts on 22 minutes, before an excellent break saw Raiders reduce the deficit on 27 minutes. Kiba Richards broke and passed to substitute Sam Hewick, who dummied a pass to get past the last man and touch down, with McLean adding the extras.
McLean kicked over a penalty to level the score at 13-13 on 31 minutes but Raiders were level for just three minutes as Penberthy sent over another penalty.
McLean responded with another penalty to again tie the scores, before Worthing went ahead in the last minute of the half.
A four-phase sweep across the visitors’ 22 and a dash by Darren Clayton allowed Rob Smith to go over in the corner but McLean was unable to get enough distance on his conversion attempt.
McLean failed with a penalty attempt in the first minute of the second half, before Penberthy reduced the deficit to two points when he was successful with his three-point attempt.
McLean restored the five-point lead when he added a penalty after Redruth’s Duncan was sinbinned for killing the ball in the red zone.
Worthing failed to take the man advantage count, though, and Redruth cut the gap to two points, while a man down, with another Penberthy penalty.
Duncan returned to the action with 20 minutes left but McLean immediately nailed another penalty to make it 27-22.
With Penberthy off injured, Shepherd was successful with a penalty attempt on 68 minutes to again cut the gap to two points.
Shepherd then had the chance to snatch a late victory for Redruth but he pulled his kick wide much to the relief of Raiders.
Worthing head coach Kieron Dawson said afterwards: “After the start, we came back really well and showed plenty of heart, spirit and team morale because after 20 minutes I thought we were in trouble, so I’m really happy with the win.
“They are a big side and were bullying us and, after I while, I think we just thought enough is enough. We talked about it in the changing room beforehand and we knew what it was going to be like.
So, we started to stand up to them and it worked for us.
“It’s a huge win but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.
“We just want to beat where we finished last year and I was pleased with everyone today. From one to 20, we stood up to them.”
Raiders travel to Westcombe Park on Saturday.
Mickey Pointing (twisted knee) is out and James Arthur (calf) is a doubt but Finlay Coxon-Smith could return and new signing, Argentinean Fernando Iraizoz, could make his debut.
WORTHING: McLean, Nielsen, Richards, Clayton, Maslen, Dudley, Govett; Pointing, Miles (capt), Webster, Stutchbury, McGowan, Arthur, Redmayne, Smith. Subs: Burns (Pointing 15), Hewick (Arthur 20), Cleveland (Webster 52), Metters (Govett 76), Briggs.
Other National 2 South results: Henley 39, Taunton 7; Launceston 22, Clifton 26; Lydney 8, Hertford 5; Richmond 55, Southend 28; Shelford 41, Westcombe Park 24; Dings 23, Old Albanians 24; Hartpury College 22, Barnes 10.