WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club got back to winning ways in National 2 South on Saturday (March 24), seeing off a battling Barnes side with a 39-30 victory at Roundstone Lane.
In a thrilling game, the relegation-threatened visitors were the better side in the first half and it was only a late Raiders fight back which saw the sides go in level at 17-17 at half-time.
A flying start to the second half gave Raiders a cushion, and, although Barnes kept coming back, Worthing held out.
Home debutant Tim Holgate, who went on to score a hat-trick, opened the scoring after just five minutes, crossing in the corner, and Matt McLean slotted over his 61st conversion of the season - something that would prove a rarity as the afternoon went on.
Chris Dunlop soon responded, finishing a cracking team try, before Huw Bevan crossed, both converted by Josh Coles to give Barnes a 14-7 lead.
Alex Nielsen replied out wide to bring the score to 14-12, and although Coles slotted over a penalty, a McLean break set up Holgate for his second to bring the scores level.
Raiders came out fighting and two tries within six minutes of the second half, the first from Michael Stubbs, the second from Rob Smith, gave them a 27-17 advantage.
Coles pulled back three points from a penalty, before McLean crossed after good work from Darren Clayton to put Raiders 32-20 ahead on the hour mark.
Coles again pulled three points back, but Holgate soon touched down his third of the afternoon after a period of sustained pressure and McLean sent over the conversion after missing the previous five.
Raiders came under pressure in the closing stages and replacement Eduardo Alteraic broke through with five minutes left for Barnes and Coles continued his fine kicking to bring the score to 39-30.
But they failed to put down anymore as Raiders held on to return to winning ways.
Full report and reaction from Raiders coach Kieron Dawson in the March 29 edition of the Worthing Herald.