For the first away game of the season Raiders travelled to newly promoted Bournemouth, who had not lost a home game for almost two seasons.
With many players still unavailable due to injury it was good to see Dave McIlwaine return to the squad after missing the whole of last season. Charlie Spencer had his first league start and Will Fowler was selected on the bench. These were the only changes to the squad from the previous Saturday.
A good crowd was in attendance and included a large contingent of Raiders’ supporters. The weather was hot and sunny with very little breeze blowing. A fast, open game was anticipated.
Bournemouth kicked off and the visitors were quickly on the attack down the left wing. A kick ahead almost brought a try, but the ball bounced into touch ten metres from the goal line. The home side’s throw into the line out was not straight and from the ensuing scrum Kiba Richards picked up from the base and bustled his way through the attempted tackles until he was eventually grounded a couple of metres from the line. The ball was then moved quickly across the back line to Harry Forrest who scored wide on the right. Matt McLean gave Raiders the lead at 0-7 after two minutes.
Bournemouth responded with a penalty after six minutes, (3-7). The visitors were playing well and keeping the pressure on the home side in attack and defence.
After ten minutes Matt McLean clipped a ball towards the corner and the home defenders were unable to make a clean catch, Jack Forrest was on hand to scoop up the loose ball and score the visitors’ second try of the afternoon, with the conversion missed Raiders led 3-12.
The half continued in the same vein, Raiders keeping the home side under pressure with and without the ball. After fourteen minutes this pressure resulted in Bournemouth conceding a penalty in front of their posts, Matt McLean gratefully accepted the chance to extend the lead to 3-15 with his successful kick.
Raiders were playing controlled, running rugby and scored their third try after a spell of good play between backs and forwards resulting in Jack Forrest scoring his second try. The touchline conversion was missed leaving the visitors with a lead of 3-20.
The bonus point try was achieved on the thirty-minute mark. After Scott Barlow was held up over the line Raiders had a five-metre scrum, the ball was moved by Sam Boyland to Matt McLean who cut clean through the defence to score the try which he also converted. The lead now stretched to 3-27.
For the first time in the game the home side got themselves on the attack and were able to make use of their big pack to score a try from close quarters. With the conversion they closed the gap to 10-27.
With five minutes to go to half time Raiders found themselves down to thirteen men as the referee gave two yellow cards, Jon Whittall and Jack Forrest, for technical offences at the ruck. Either side of the half time the Raiders’ defence was excellent whilst playing shorthanded.
Half time score: Bournemouth 10 Worthing Raiders 27
Raiders kicked off to start the second half and despite being two men down were quickly on the attack. When a penalty was awarded in front of the posts Matt McLean took the kick and stretched the lead further, 10-30.
Bournemouth fought back with another try from close range using their big forwards. (17-30)
The next fifteen minutes became rather scrappy with neither side getting any continuity in their play. The visitors, although dominant in open play were repeatedly penalised at the breakdowns to the bewilderment of the players and spectators alike.
On the half hour mark Dave McIlwaine, who had just entered the game from the bench, finished a flowing passage of play by scoring a try with his first touch of the ball. Matt McLean added the extras to make it 17-37 with ten minutes to play.
With the last play of the game the Bournemouth forwards managed to squeeze in for another try to complete the scoring.
Full time score: Bournemouth 24 Worthing Raiders 37
A good result on the road demonstrating many positives from the players.
Many thanks to all who travelled to Bournemouth to support the team, we estimated well over fifty. It was greatly appreciated by the players and coaches.
Referee: James Milliner
Scorers: Tries: Forrest H, Forrest J x 2, McLean, McIlwaine. Cons: McLean x 3. Pens: McLean x 2
Team: 1. Henry Birch – Captain 2. Elliott Luke 3. Rhys Litterick 4. Scott Barlow 5. Jack Lee 6. Jon Whittall 7. Will Grief 8. Kiba Richards 9. Sam Boyland 10. Matt McLean 11. Charlie Spencer 12. Tom Gwyther 13. Jack Forrest 14. Harry Forrest 15. Henry Anscombe
Bench: 16. Jordan Gibson 17. Tom Adams 18. Will Fowler 24. John Dawe 20. Dave McIlwaine