Worthing Raiders Rugby Club remain in pole position in the National 2 South title race after a 47-5 win over fifth-placed Shelford on Saturday (March 9).
Raiders stay top and are now 12 points ahead of second-placed Henley, who won 31-5 at Canterbury, but have two games in hand.
Redruth slipped a place to third after losing 26-19 at home to fourth-placed Hartpury College. Both teams are 15 points adrift of Raiders, Redruth have two games in hand and Hartpury one.
Raiders were frustrated for much of the opening half-hour as they were constantly thwarted by the visitors’ defence and Shelford went ahead through a Rory Hutchinson penalty on 23 minutes.
However, Shelford had Peter Baird sent off for two yellow cards on 33 minutes - the second a deliberate knock-on - and Raiders went ahead two minutes later when Alex Nielsen went over and Joe Govett converted.
Worthing added a second try on the stroke of half-time when sub Ludi Hopkinson on for the injured Jack Maslen (hamstring) touched down and Govett added the extras to make the half-time score 14-3.
Shelford heaped pressure on Raiders at the start of the second half but were unable to breach the home side’s defence and, as they tired, Raiders began to take control.
Nielsen touched down his second from Ollie Richard’s kick forward on 55 minutes and Govett nailed the conversion.
Captain Matt Miles then sealed the four-try bonus point and Govett again kicked the extras to make it 28-3.
Nielsen touched down his hat-trick on 67 minutes, with Govett again nailing the conversion, before Hopkinson got his second and Nielsen his fourth in the closing stages, with Govett converting one of the two.
Raiders have a free weekend next week, before they travel to Henley on March 23.
Full match report, reaction and pictures in the March 14 edition of the Worthing Herald.