A CONVERTED Rob Smith try five minutes into injury-time saw Worthing Raiders Rugby Club promoted into National 1 on Saturday (May 11) after a 28-26 win at Stourbridge.
With Raiders 26-21 down, they encamped themselves on Stourbridge’s line but the home side thwarted any Worthing attempts and then held up Luke Peters’ charge forward.
Two scrums followed and after Kiba Richards was held up, the ball was fed to Smith, who touched down and Govett’s conversion, with the last kick of the game, from close range gave Raiders victory to scenes of pure jubilation for the visiting players, management, officials and supporters.
Raiders were without Charlie McGowan (suspended), Matt Miles (broken arm) and Alex Nielsen (broken thumb), and long-term injury victims Matt McLean and Matt Farnes for the match and it was another bruising encounter.
Joe Burns dislocated a finger in the first half but was able to continue after a spell on the sidelines and Jack Maslen sported a bruised face, before Ludi Hopkinson went off five minutes before half-time to be replaced by Ben Dudley.
Stourbridge went ahead after just a minute through a James Hearn penalty but Raiders responded well. Joe Govett sent a penalty wide, before Kieran Leeming and Hopkinson combined to set Maslen free and he touched down, with Govett’s conversion taking Worthing 7-3 ahead on six minutes.
Hearn made it 7-6 with a penalty four minutes later, before Worthing had Ollie Richards sinbinned on 32 minutes and Stourbridge went ahead with a converted Nathan Bressington try in the corner a minute later.
Worthing regained the lead while a man down when Govett converted his own try but another Hearn penalty gave Stourbridge a 16-14 half-time lead.
Worthing went back ahead on 53 minutes when Scott Barlow powered his way over and Govett’s conversion made the score 21-16.
Stourbridge were soon back infront, though, as William Hurrell broke through the middle to go over under the posts and Hearn’s conversion took the home side 23-21 ahead.
Hearn’s penalty with 10 minutes left took Stourbridge five points clear but Smith’s late try saw Worthing clinch promotion in the most dramatic finish to the season.
Full report and reaction in the May 16 edition of the Worthing Herald.