WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club recorded their first-ever win in National 1 on Saturday with a thrilling success away to Lancashire-based side Fylde.
In a game of 15 tries, two-hat-tricks, 95 points and seven yellow cards, Raiders returned home with a bonus-point victory and moved up to 11th in the table.
Things did not start as planned for Raiders with a late change to the team minutes before kick-off. Lock Simon Gaynor suffered a calf injury, which meant Chris Sewell stepped up from the bench to start in the second row and coach Kieron Dawson took his spot on the subs bench.
Raiders opened the scoring on three minutes when Sewell intercepted a pass and, from the resulting ruck, a pinpoint kick from Joe Govett saw winger Alex Nielsen race through to score in the corner.
Fylde went ahead on six minutes when Paul Arnold went over under the posts after a quick tap penalty and Christoper Johnson converted.
Raiders had Govett yellow-carded on nine minutes for a knock-on and, from the resulting penalty, Christoper Briers touched down and Johnson’s conversion gave the hosts a 14-5 lead.
Kiba Richards ghosted past three Fylde defenders for a fine individual score for Raiders’ second try and Kieran Leeming converted, in Govett’s absence, to narrow the gap.
A mistake by Raiders from a line-out then gifted possession to Fylde, who spun the ball wide and Oliver Viney went over, with Johnson’s conversion making the score 21-12.
Fylde had Joseph Robinson sinbinned on 36 minutes and Raiders made the extra man count a minute later when Nielsen got his second after good work from Ollie Richards, which made the half-time score 21-17.
Fylde’s Paul Arnold and Raiders’ Rob Smith were both sinbinned early in the second half and Raiders ran in 26 unanswered points in a nine-minute spell.
Ollie Richards broke through to give Raiders the lead again and Govett converted on 43 minutes.
James Chisholm then went over for another converted score and Nielsen completed his hat-trick on 50 minutes when he touched down in the corner with an opportunisitic try.
Dan Sargent crossed for his first try in Raiders’ colours following a five-metre scrum two minutes later, with Govett’s conversion making the score 43-21.
Raiders’ Scott Barlow and Fylde’s Peter Altham were sinbinned on 55 minutes and the home side got the score back to 43-38 with tries from Ryan De La Harpe and Viney, with two to complete his hat-trick, with 13 minutes still to play.
Within a minute, Raiders had opened up a 12-point lead as Kiba Richards’ offload enabled Ollie Richards to cross for his second try, with Govett converting.
Fylde had the last say in the closing stages as Arnold touched down and Johnson converted to seal a losing bonus point for the hosts.
RAIDERS: Greenwood, Coxon-Smith, O.Richards, K.Richards, Nielsen, Leeming, Govett, Smith, Hewick, Chisholm, Barlow, Sewell, Sargent, Cleveland, O’Sullivan. Subs: Heaver (Sewell 68), Dudley, Pointing (Nielsen, O’Sullivan 71), Miles, Dawson.