Raiders ease to victory against Newbury

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club blitzed lowly Newbury at Roundstone Lane on Saturday and crashed home eight tries in a comfortable 51-5 victory.

Tries from Richard Briggs (two), one of which came within the first 30 seconds of the match, captain James Arthur, Greg Sullivan, Jamie Redmayne, as well as three Matt McLean conversions and a kicked penalty had earned Raiders their four-try bonus point by half-time when they led 34-5.

Raiders shut out the National 2 South basement side after the break and further tries from Charlie McGowan, Sam Hewick and replacement Shane Cositgan, along with a McLean conversion, completed a comfortable afternoon, where Raiders returned to winning ways, but were never really forced to get out of second gear.

Worthing head coach Will Green said: “It was very pleasing. We had set a target of not conceding a try, so that was a little disappointing, but overall the performance was very good. What was more pleasing was how well the lads that came off the bench did. Young Harry Chatfield at just 18 came on and Oli Luke played the whole second half.

“We were able to rest a few guys and we came away with no injuries ahead of a big crunch game with Henley at home on Saturday.

“Will (Stutchbury) did really well, it was very positive coming back from 18 months out and he’s put a lot of hard work in.”

Worthing set the tone from the start as they crashed into a tackle from the kick-off and the ball was shifted out wide to Briggs, who never broke from a jog to cross the line.

Newbury then summed up their afternoon as their kick-off virtually bounced back into their own half and gifted Raiders possession again.

Sullivan thought he had extended the lead on seven minutes when he went under the posts, but Ben Dudley’s popped pass was adjudged to have gone forwards in the build-up. They did not have to wait long for the second, though, as four minutes later Arthur found a gap and crossed after a period of pressure.

McLean looked to have squandered the chance of their next try, when he delayed the pass after breaking forwards and ran into a tackle but a clever exchange saw Briggs released to go over. McLean then came good with the boot and kicked his first conversion – at the second attempt after encroachment from Newbury players – to put them 17-0 ahead.

McLean extended the lead with a long-range penalty before Sullivan crashed over after being realeased by a Paul Dunckley interception, and McLean again added the extras.

Raiders would have gone in without conceding a point had Newbury’s seemingly untackleable Tom Fidler not strolled across the line in their first venture into the Worthing 22 in the 26th minute. Three Worthing players all failed in their attempts to stop the powerful player out wide, much to the humour of both sets of supporters.

Another McLean run saw a smart exchange between Arthur and Stutchbury, in his first start after a long-term shoulder injury, for Redmayne to cross before the break.

A spell of heavy rain just before, and throughout half-time, meant the second half deteriorated into a scrappy affair with handling errors and mis-placed passes.

A well-worked move early in the half saw the ball moved out wide and checked back into McGowan to score the sixth try of the afternoon, although McLean missed the kick.

Raiders then handed a first-team debut to Harry Chatfield, who has come through the youth ranks, and he looked well within his comfort zone for the rest of the afternoon.

In the 58th minute, Mike Marsh picked up at the back of a scrum, broke forwards, and off-loaded to Hewick, who crept over, and McLean’s conversion made it 46-5.

Raiders then broke the 50-point mark for just the second time this season, when Costigan, who had replaced the injured McLean, finished a smart move after an unselfish pass from Sullivan.

WORTHING: McLean, Maslen, Sullivan, Dunckley, Briggs, Dudley, Marsh, Bruce, Cleveland, Webster, Stutchbury, McGowan, Redmayne, Hewick, Arthur. Subs: Chatfield, Pointing, Miles, Luke, Costigan.