Raiders return to winning ways

Matt McLean socred a try in Raiders' defeat to Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Stephen Goodger
Matt McLean socred a try in Raiders' defeat to Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Worthing Raiders Rugby Club returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 26-22 victory at home to London Irish Wild Geese in National 2 South this afternoon.

Driving rain made handling conditions difficult but Worthing made a bright start. Kiba Richards’ burst forward from Matt McLean’s pass on five minutes but Finlay Coxon-Smith was just unable to hold on to the ball metres from the try line, before Richards again led an attack but Worthing knocked-on just short of the line.

Raiders took the lead on nine minutes when Joe Burns touched down after the hosts drove forward and McLean was unlucky to see his conversion attempt from out wide hit the bar.

The visitors slowly started to come back into the game and enjoyed a spell of pressure before they equalised on 20 minutes. George Owen sprinted past several players before he was denied by a last-ditch McLean tackle but Owen offloaded to Sean Cunningham to go over for an unconverted try.

Worthing responded immediately and went back ahead just two minutes later. James Arthur went over from Kieran Leeming’s long pass and McLean added the extras to move Raiders 12-5 ahead.

McLean added a penalty on 38 minutes as Raiders went into half-time with 15-5 lead.

The hosts extended their advantage just two minutes into the second half as Dan Peach offloaded to captain Liam Perkins to go over in the corner.

McLean was unable to add the extras but he kicked over another penalty on 48 minutes as Worthing opened up a 23-5 advantage.

London Irish responded straight away as George Owen finished off a well-worked move in the corner but Gavin Dunne was unable to add the extras.

Worthing held up a London Irish drive from a scrum on 58 minutes and Raiders continued to defend resolutely until they won possession back four minutes later. However, the visitors won the ball back shortly afterwards and Dan Grant-Anderson sprinted past several players to go over in the corner on 63 minutes. Dunne was just wide with the conversion as the visitors closed the gap to 23-15.

Worthing lost Perkins to a yellow card for holding on after 66 minutes and London Irish made their numerical advantage count a minute later as Seb Rodwell went over for the visitors’ fourth try. Dunne’s conversion made the score 23-22.

Another McLean penalty opened up a four-point lead for Raiders with nine minutes left.

Raiders then saw out the rest of the game fairly comfortably as they ended a four-game losing run.

RAIDERS: McLean, Squire, Coxon-Smith, Richards, Nielsen, Leeming, Peach; Gatford, Watson-Brooks, Burns, Arthur, Lake, Short, Hewick, Perkins. Subs: Harris, Sargent, Double, Montgomery, Forrest.

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