WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson was furious with the officials and his players after a 32-31 defeat at home to Old Albanian on Saturday.
Raiders had appeared to be heading to victory in the National 1 game when they led 26-13 early in the second half. However, Old Albanian hit back and a penalty from Lawrence Rayner - who kicked six in total - with eight minutes to go gave the visitors victory.
Dawson was angry at a late decision not to award Worthing a penalty for offside and said: “My over-riding feeling is anger. Anger at my own team, anger at the officials, anger at the players who came on and changed the game, good and bad.”
On the last play of the game incident, Dawson said: “The referee had an absolute shocker. We had a free kick, we took it quickly, they didn’t go back ten, so it changes it to a full-on penalty seven yards in front of the posts, with the score 32-31.
“Instead, he gives another free kick and the referee knows he’s made a complete howler.
“Why not stop the game? Why not get the touch judges on and have a conflab? Everyone in this ground knows the law, both teams know the law, the Old Albanian coach knows the law - he came up to me afterwards and said he’s had a shocker. The only man who doesn’t know the law seems to be the referee.
“I’ve already said my piece to him and he said he’ll speak to me afterwards and I’ll be speaking to his assessor.
“It seems to happen every week. Last week was the same at Blaydon, I couldn’t understand what the referee was talking about and today was a great game of rugby spoiled by the referee.”
Two penalties from Rayner gave Old Albanian a 6-0 lead after seven minutes. But Raiders went ahead as Finlay Coxon-Smith converted tries by Ben Dudley and Ollie Richards as the hosts moved 14-6 in front by the 24th minute.
Old Albanian’s James Speirs went over and Rayner converted to cut Raiders’ lead to a point by half-time.
Worthing started the second half well and moved 26-13 in front as Sam Hewick and Kiba Richard went over, with Coxon-Smith converting one of the tries.
Rayner got a penalty back on 49 minutes, before the visitors’ George Saunders touched down in the corner and an excellent conversion by Rayner made the score 26-23 on 54 minutes.
Alex Nielsen had soon extended Raiders’ lead to eight points on 58 minutes with his 13th try of the season but Dudley’s conversion attempt from a tight angle went just the wrong side of the posts.
Penalties from Rayner on 61, 67 and 72 minutes put Old Albanian ahead, before the late controversy.
Full match report, more reaction from Dawson and Matt McLean on his expected return to action in the December 19 edition of the Worthing Herald.