Raiders’ late luck runs out as Shelford snatch victory

Alex Nielsen
Alex Nielsen

Worthing Rugby Club’s late luck ran out on Saturday as they were served a taste of their own medicine on the road at Shelford.

Raiders’ promotion hopes were dealt a blow as they slipped to fifth in the National 2 South table after Aki Lea put down a last-gasp try to steal the hosts a 22-21 victory.

The Roundstone Lane outfit have had grand-stand finishes go in their favour in the past three weeks with victories over Dings, Hartpury and Redruth.

That wasn’t the case on Saturday, however, as with Pete Cleveland sin-binned in the final moments Lea went over to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat.

Raiders head coach Kieron Dawson admitted taking a losing bonus point was a saving grace.

On the late defeat, he said: “It was very disappointing, sometimes it goes with you and sometimes it goes against. We were 14-3 up at the half-time and pretty much in control, so it really was very disappointing to lose.

“Two sin-bins in the second half cost us. Ultimately, the second one really cost us as they pressed hard after that and the extra man told after a scrum.”

On the yellow cards, Dawson said: “The first was on the halfway line which is a strange place to give a yellow card and the second was on their line and a penalty at most not a yellow, but that put us under pressure and to lose so late on was just gut-wrenching.”

Joe Govett converted Rob Smith’s early try, and although Steve Smith pulled back a penalty, Dings had Scott Jackowski sin-binned before the break and Cleveland touched down with Govett’s extras handing them a 14-3 lead.

Luke Beales’ converted try got the home side back into it after the break, and with Sam Hewick sin-binned, Nigel Conroy’s converted try put Shelford ahead for the first time in the match.

Raiders retook the lead with 15 minutes remaining as Alex Nielsen crossed and Govett converted to give the visitors a 21-17 lead. But with Cleveland then shown a yellow, Lea touched down in the last play to snatch the win.