Raiders lose away to Esher in hard-fought battle

Ollie Richards touched down Raiders' try at Esher
Ollie Richards touched down Raiders' try at Esher

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club suffered a 36-19 defeat away to Esher in National 1 this afternoon.

In a hard-fought game, Esher ended their three-game losing run, while also picking up the four-try bonus point.

Raiders went ahead through a Joe Govett penalty after just three minutes but the visitors had Pete Cleveland sinbinned on eight minutes and Esher went ahead within a minute. The hosts drove forward from a scrum and Michael MacFarlane touched down, with Thomas Whelan converting.

It became 13 versus 14 on 17 minutes when Raiders’ Scott Barlow and Esher’s Kristian Chesney were both sinbinned.

With Cleveland back on the pitch, Govett closed the gap with a penalty on 25 minutes but Esher responded with a penalty of their own through Whelan on 34 minutes.

Raiders went ahead on 37 minutes when a line-out was worked from right to left and Ollie Richards went over, with Govett’s conversion making the score 13-10.

But there was still time for Esher to go back ahead by half-time as Tom Cheeseman twisted and turned by the line to go over and Whelan’s conversion made the half-time score 17-13.

Raiders thought they had scored their second try four minutes into the second half but it was adjudged Esher had grounded the ball, before debutant Ryan Ball touched down.

Govett kicked over a penalty to make it 17-16 two minutes later but within two minutes and with the hosts down to 14 men with a player in the sinbin, Esher moved further ahead. Stewart Maguire went over from a line-out but Whelan was off target with the conversion.

Worthing then piled on the pressure but the Esher defence stood firm until an infringment allowed Govett to kick over another three points for Raiders and make the score 22-19 with 20 minutes to play.

Esher were awarded a penalty try four minutes later after a spell of pressure, with Whelan’s conversion taking the hosts ten points ahead.

Any hope Worthing had of a big push in the closing stages were dashed when Ben Loosmore was yellow-carded with 12 minutes to go.

Esher finished the game strongly and added a fifth try with two minutes to go when substitute Freddie Strange skipped through to touch down his first try for the club.

Worthing remain tenth in the table despite the defeat, although are now just four points clear of third-from-botton Tynedale.

Raiders host high-flying Rosslyn Park next Saturday at Roundstone Lane.

National 1 results: Hull Ionians 7-53 Old Albanian; Loughborough Students 12-31 Doncaster Knights; Tynedale 26-7 Fylde; Rosslyn Park 12-15 Blackheath; Coventry 22-10 Wharfedale; Richmond 25-10 Henley Hawks; Cinderford v Blaydon.