Raiders climb out of relegation places following thrilling win over Taunton Titans
Worthing Raiders moved out of the National League 2 South relegation places with a thrilling win over fifth-placed Taunton Titans at Roundstone Lane this afternoon.
Starting the day second-bottom, Raiders ran in four tries on their way to a bonus-point 36-33 triumph over Taunton.
Worthing's win - coupled with defeats for both Barnes and London Irish Wild Geese, who started the day above them - helped Raiders climb two-places to fourth-bottom in the standings with six games to go.
Once again Raiders were taken right to the wire having held a healthy lead going into the final 20 minutes. This time around, Worthing were cruising with a 28-7 lead before a late onslaught.
In a dramatic finale, Taunton ran in 26 points but Raiders held on for what could prove to be a pivotal five-point win.
A well-worked Ben Loosmore try inside five minutes set the tone for a thrilling opening 40 minutes from the home side. Matt McLean, Sam Hewick and Loosmore were all involved, before the latter raced over. McLean then added the extras to fire Raiders 7-0 ahead.
Taunton's response was almost imminent as Daniel Frost bagged his side's first try of the day less than five minutes later.
Kariym Irving lunged over following a sweeping Raiders move to kick-start a run of 18-unanswered points prior to the interval. As well as Irving's try, Dan Sargent's converted try, plus two penalties from McLean helped Worthing open up a 25-7 half-time lead.
Raiders then went three points further ahead less than three minutes after the restart courtesy of McLean's drop goal.
With Raiders in total command, a superb solo try from Frost kick-started a Taunton resurgence on the hour.
Following Frost's converted effort, Titans went onto register 19 more points in the final 13 minutes.
Samuel Prior's converted try on 67 minutes clawed Taunton back to within seven points of the home side at 28-21.
A cracking Raiders response saw Harry Forrest go over less than a minute later to secure a bonus-point fourth try. McLean the crashed over a penalty as Worthing looked to have things wrapped up at 36-21 with less than five minutes left.
From the kick, replacement Jon Gatford's converted try gave Taunton hope before Prior went over for his second and Titans fifth a minute from the end.
With just a three-point lead, Raiders had a nervy finale but held out for a crucial victory.
Fourth-bottom Raiders face a crunch trip to two-places below London Irish Wild Geese in the league on Saturday.
RAIDERS: Storer, Watson-Brooks, Sargent, Barlow, Lake, Lamb, Hewick, Perkins; Leeming, McLean, Irving, Loosmore, Richards, Coxon-Smith, Forrest. Replacements: Harris, Finney, Whittall, Boyland, Dobson.
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