Raiders snatch vital late win

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WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club scored a converted try with the last play of the game to beat Southend 30-28 in National 2 South on Saturday (March 30).

Raiders were not at their fluent best throughout the match but, after a spell of intense pressure in Southend’s 22, Ollie Richards burst through to touch down and Joe Govett kicked the conversion to the delight of the Roundstone Lane crowd.

The bonus-point win keeps Worthing seven points clear of second-placed Henley Hawks, who won 41-9 at Chinnor.

Southend took the lead after six minutes when Thomas Ashton went over but Robert Kirby was unable to add the conversion and he was off target with a penalty shortly afterwards.

A penalty from Govett got Raiders’ first points on 15 minutes, before Luke Peters went over in the corner after Raiders spread play from left to right to make the score 8-5.

Govett’s conversion hit a post, before Kiba Richards went over but Govett kicked a close-range conversion wide as Worthing led 13-5 after 23 minutes.

A drop goal and penalty from Kirby made it 13-11 after 30 minutes, before the visitors went back ahead when Michael Stanley touched down a simple try after a lovely kick over the Worthing defence from Bradley Burr on 33 minutes.

Kirby added the extras and then kicked another drop goal as Southend led 21-13 at half-time.

Will Stutchbury dived over and Govett converted to get Worthing to within a point on 48 minutes but Southend were soon eight points ahead again.

Kirby launched a kick forward, which Raiders’ Ludi Hopkinson dropped and, after a quick pass, Ashton touched down and Kirby converted to make the score 28-20 after 53 minutes.

Govett kicked a penalty to make it 28-23 three minutes later and Raiders then piled on the pressure.

They were held up on the line on a couple of occasions, before Southend had Daniel Legge sinbinned in the final seconds. After a couple of scrums, Ollie Richards broke through to touch down and make the score 28-28.

Govett then kicked the conversion to give Raiders a win that head coach Kieron Dawson admitted his side did not deserve.

He said: “We shouldn’t have won and the better team lost today but we’ll learn from it.

“It was a frustrating day but we got away with it as a loss would have been catastrophic.”

Full match report and pictures, plus more reaction from Dawson and Govett in the April 4 edition of the Worthing Herald.