Raiders left frustrated with Henley postponement

One of the pitches at Roundstone Lane on Saturday
One of the pitches at Roundstone Lane on Saturday

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club were frustrated to be left out in the cold on Saturday after a borderline decision saw their home clash with Henley Hawks fall victim to the weather.

Raiders were due to get back into action after a free week in National 2 South, at home against Hawks, but an early inspection deemed the pitch unplayable – despite the home side’s best efforts.

The pitch had been what team manager David Hinchliffe had described “perfect for rugby” on Thursday and up until they left the club on Friday night.

But with a frost overnight, Henley wanted a decision by 10am before they travelled and a panel referee called off the match on its state at that time.

But, with the sun out, the pitch was playable at 2pm, when the 2nd XV were scheduled to play Heathfield – before the visitors conceded due to a depleted side.

Raiders team manager David Hinchliffe said: “It was frustrating as we were up for it and had worked hard to try and make it playable.

“We had frost protection sheets on the southern half of the ground all week, and the ground under those was perfect.

“We could have probably played it, but the referee urged on the side of caution and you can’t blame him for that.

“They could have come all the way down, stamped their feet and decided to go home – it’s happened to us before, so we’ll just do it all again now on the 25th (February).”

Another free week, however, allowed those coming back from injury and on the fringes another week’s rest, but Hinchliffe admitted it would have been more beneficial for them to have got game time.

James Arthur and Finlay Coxon-Smith were both scheduled to be in the first-team squad, and then went into the second XV side before that was called off.

Hinchliffe said: “It’s good and bad, what JC (Arthur) really needs is game time and another half-hour or so would have done him good.

“Finlay would have played Saturday, he’s on the road back and just needs match fitness.”

Raiders will now be looking to get back to their league campaign with a trip to Lydney on Saturday.

Hinchliffe added: “They were our first-ever match in the National League and we didn’t do too well that day, but since then we have had a pretty good record.

“They are a West Country side and it is always a battle down there, as most sides from there have a big pack, so it’ll be tough.

“They had a good start to the season, but have faltered a bit of late, so I hope that continues against us.”