Worthing Raiders Rugby Club suffered their first defeat of the National 2 South season on Saturday (October 6) when they lost 36-21 at Chinnor.
The game started badly for Raiders as they conceded the opening try after only 18 seconds and things did not get much better throughout the rest of the contest.
Worthing were without five key players, with captain Matt Miles, Jamie Redmayne, James Arthur, Charlie McGowan and Alex Nielsen all missing and Chinnor made immediate inroads to take an early lead.
Chinnor pounced after Raiders dropped the kick-off and Sam Stoop danced his way through to go under between the posts, with James Cathcart adding the extras.
Despite the early setback, Worthing drew level on 25 minutes when Rob Smith drove over from a scrum and Matt McLean’s conversion made the score 7-7. That was about as good as things got for Worthing as Chinnor had moved into a 21-7 lead by half-time with converted tries from Tommy Gray and then Leo Fielding.
Raiders began the second half strongly and McLean converted his own try on 41 minutes to reduce the deficit to 21-14.
Matt Goode soon took Chinnor clear again as his try sealed the four-try bonus point and Cathcart again converted.
Raiders responded again with a Harry Sloan try and McLean’s conversion again cut the gap to seven points.
But Chinnor then sealed the win as Tom Mowbray sprinted 40 yards to touch down, before Cathcart kicked a last-minute penalty.
Raiders head coach Kieron Dawson said: “The next four or five weeks will be vital to our season and, against the top sides, we’ve got to win.
“Henley are running away with things at the moment, which might not be a bad thing as it will mean we’ll still have the play-off place to go for.
“We hadn’t been performing well and Saturday’s result had been coming but we were without five very good players and were a little bit rudderless on the pitch.”
Raiders host second-placed Redruth, who have won all five of their games, on Saturday.
RAIDERS: Cleveland, Pointing, Joe Burns, Stutchbury, Barlow, Heaver, Hewick, Smith, Leeming, Dudley, Farnes, Sloan, Richards, Maslen, McLean. Subs: Dawson, Clayton, McIntyre, Govett, Jordan Burns.