WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club coach Kieron Dawson admitted his side paid the price for a slow start at Redruth on Saturday.
Raiders trailed 17-0 at half-time and 22-0 early in the second half, before they fought back to earn a losing bonus point.
It was just Worthing’s second defeat in nine games but it pretty much ends any hope of a top two finish in National 2 South.
Dawson said: “It’s a long old journey and we just never got off the bus to start with and paid the price.
“It was a frustrating day. We had a great spell of pressure at the end but I don’t know if we’d have deserved to win as we didn’t play well at all.
“That’s it for a top two finish now. We already had one eye on next season and will start to think about it more now.
“We’ll look to blood some young players and various things need to be addressed. Maybe we need to get some new players in to shake things up a bit.
“This season has been a disappointment for the club, the coaches and the players. But that is also a sign of how far we have come as a club and the high standards we have set ourselves.”
Worthing made the livelier start but then Redruth took control and scored their first try in the ninth minute through Ben Priddey, after a powerful drive by the forwards from a line-out close to the Raiders line and Ashley Hoskins converted.
Hoskins added a penalty four minutes later, before Redruth extended their lead in the 29th minute. After a powerful attack combining the forwards and backs, Hoskins scored in the corner and then added the extras to make the score 17-0.
The hosts continued to play strong, offensive rugby while Raiders appeared a little lacklustre and a shadow of the team that had beaten the league’s best sides so con-vincingly in previous weeks.
There was no further scoring before the whistle blew for the end of the first half.
Raiders took the field for the second half having made some positional changes, which gave a more familiar look to the winning side of previous weeks. However, it was Redruth who scored after 42 minutes when Nielson Webber touched down in the corner after Raiders missed some vital tackles.
The Raiders game was suddenly switched on and they started to play with much more cohesion and purpose, although they still remained guilty of poor handling errors at vital moments.
Their first points came in the 49th minute from a quick penalty when Kieran Leeming kicked the ball high for the corner which was collected by Finlay Coxon-Smith, who broke two tackles to score. Matt McLean successfully converted.
Raiders continued to play the more positive rugby while the first half dominance shown by Redruth was fading.
Raiders kept up the pressure on the Redruth line and they were rewarded with a try in the 62nd minute by McLean after some excellent interplay involving the backs and the forwards.
Worthing’s sustained effort in their pursuit of a positive outcome gave the small band of travelling fans some real hope when McLean scored his second try of the afternoon in the 78th minute after another excellent drive involving the backs and the forwards.
With a minute to go and a five point deficit, Raiders had one final opportunity to secure a win. They tried valiantly and worked the ball from their own 22 metre line right up to the Redruth 22, before the ball was knocked-on and the final whistle blew.
Worthing entertain Cornish All Blacks on Saturday.
RAIDERS: Storer, Piper, Sargent, Yates, McGowan, Redmayne, Hewick, Smith; Peach, Leeming, Nielsen, Burns, Loosmore, Coxon-Smith, McLean. Subs: Walker, Perkins, South, Waters, Miles.