Worthing Raiders produced brilliant late comeback to brush aside Westcliff
Worthing Raiders recorded a first win in six attempts after coming out on top at Westcliff.
The Raiders, who had last tasted victory on December 21, produced a brilliant comeback to wrap up a 34-29 National 2 South victory on their first ever visit to Westcliff.
Injuries dictated a number of changes to the Worthing squad for the trip.
Liam Perkins, Jack Lake, Jordan Gibson and Will Beer were all unavailable.
That meant Ryan Maguire joined Jack Lee in the second row while Will Grief started at blindside flanker.
Whilst Storm Ciara had not arrived, there was a strong wind gusting across the pitch as the game began.
Westcliff were quick off the blocks and scored a converted try inside three minutes.
But back came the Raiders who replied through Harry Forrest after he travelled 40 metres to score under the posts.
Both sides were guilty of squandering opportunities but it was the hosts who bagged the next try on the left wing.
Matt McLean kicked over a penalty soon after as the Raiders closed the gap to 12-10.
Westcliff went over for a third try of the half as they held a nine-point advantage at the break (19-10).
It looked a long way back for the Raiders when the hosts went over again soon after the restart to lead 26-10.
Curtis Barnes cut through the defence untouched with McLean adding the extras as Worthing closed the gap back to nine points.
Despite being a man down, Westcliff widened their advantage to 12 points with only 10 minutes remaining after firing over a penalty.
The Raiders were searching for third try to secure a losing bonus point but the final five minutes changed that picture completely.
From a scrum on the Westcliff 10m line, Worthing built the phases patiently across the field and back again.
They eventually created a gap in the home defence and Jack Forrest took his chance to dart through, grounding the ball close to the posts to give McLean an easy conversion (29-24).
Remarkably, Barnes put on the afterburners soon after and Worthing went ahead for the first time in the game with just two minutes remaining.
McLean then made no mistake, firing over a penalty late on as the Raiders completed a superb late turnaround to secure a bonus-point victory on the road.