Game four of National League 2 South saw Raiders at home for the second week in a row. The opponents were Redruth from Cornwall.
Selection for the home side had thrown up a few problems due to the unavailability of skipper Henry Birch, Jon Whittall, Calum Waters and Tom Adams. Freddie Holmes made his debut in the back row, Grant Gatford started his first game of the season in the front row, Jack Lake returned to the squad after a long injury spell, Dan Cade was also making his debut on the bench and Sam Cook stepped in for Tom Adams.
It had rained on and off all week on the Sussex Coast but although the grass was much greener the ground was still very firm under foot.
The weather on matchday was warm and sunny but a very strong wind was blowing from the south west which would have quite an influence on how and where the game would be played. Raiders kicked off attacking the southern end of the ground in front of a crowd well over four hundred. The home side had the better of the play in the first few minutes moving the ball through the phases against the wind and managing to disrupt the visitors’ line out more than once.
After seven minutes Redruth opened the scoring with an unconverted try to take an early lead, 0-5. They followed this with two penalties and another unconverted try so after half an hour their lead had grown to 0-16. Their success came from using the boot to gain ground with the aid of the wind and the power of the sizeable forwards.
The home side had very little meaningful possession during the half so far. Using the boot out of defence was futile against the wind and consequently keeping the ball in hand in defensive areas put them under great pressure. However, the last ten minutes of the half saw Raiders with possession deep in Redruth territory. The home side had darts at the line, but the defence held out. It was during one of these attempts to score that Jack Lee was injured and had to leave the field. Raiders then had a string of scrums five metres out but although in control of the ball in each one the referee kept resetting it until eventually, he gave the visitors a penalty and they were able to relieve the pressure.
This was possibly the most important few moments of the game as a score at this point would have closed the gap considerably and given the home team great confidence for the second half.
Half time score: Worthing Raiders 0 Redruth 16
The visitors restarted the game defending the northern end of the ground. The wind had abated a little but was still an influence on play
As in the first half much of the game was played towards the scoreboard end of the ground.
From a lineout on Redruth’s twenty-two metre line the Raiders forwards drove towards the try line eventually being held up over the line. From the resulting scrum Sam Boyland fed the ball to Matt McLean on the narrow side and he split the defence to open the Raiders’ account with a converted try, 7-16.
With the play continuing to take place in or near the Redruth twenty-two metre area the pressure eventually brought the reward of a try for Will Grief with another conversion from Matt McLean, 14-16.
The team and the crowd were now in confident mood, unfortunately it was the visitors that registered the next score, a converted try and suddenly the gap had opened up to 14-23.
It wasn’t long before Raiders were back on the attack and from a catch and drive at a lineout the ball was eventually moved wide to the right wing for Harry Forrest to score in the corner, with the conversion narrowly missing the score was now 19-23 with some fifteen minutes still to play.
The home side were doing most of the attacking and looked as if they would score again until an attacking lineout went wrong and Redruth broke out of defence to score a converted try to lead 19-30 with five minutes to play.
With little time left two scores were needed to take the lead. A chip and a chase to the corner almost resulted in a try for Jack Forrest or Henry Anscombe but the bounce defeated both and although the referee had to consult with his touch judge the decision was that the defender touched the ball down first.
Redruth played possession rugby deep in their own territory until the clock went into the red at which point they ended the game by kicking the ball dead.
Full time score: Worthing Raiders 19 Redruth 30
A disappointing result for the home side, a game in which they could have won or at least earned two points but instead for the first time this season they failed to take any points from a game.
Referee: Andrew MacNeaney
Man of the Match: Sam Boyland
Scorers: Tries: McLean, Grief, Forrest H Cons: McLean x 2
Team: 1.Grant Gatford (Cook 29 min) 2. Elliott Luke – Captain 3. Rhys Litterick 4. Scott Barlow 5. Jack Lee (Lake 35 min) 6. Will Grief 7. Freddie Holmes (Gibson 51 min) 8. Kiba Richards 9. Sam Boyland 10. Matt McLean 11. Henry Anscombe 12. Tom Gwyther 13. Jack Forrest 14. Harry Forrest 15. Dave McIlwaine
Bench: 16.Jordan Gibson 17. Sam Cook 18. Jack Lake 24. Ryan Maguire 20. Dan Cade