Raiders beat Chinnor to return to winning ways

Liam Perkins on the run against Chinnor
Liam Perkins on the run against Chinnor

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club ended a five-game losing run with a 23-15 victory at home to Chinnor on Saturday.

The Worthing faithful welcomed full-back Matt McLean back after several weeks’ absence and last year’s captain, Rob Smith, made his first appearance of the season, starting on the bench.

Conditions throughout the match were atrocious with rain lashing down, although to the credit of the ground staff the pitch stood up well.

Chinnor kicked off with the wind at their backs, and monopolised the possession in the early stages but the home defence tackled manfully and attempted to turn over the ball at the breakdown. After ten minutes, Chinnor took the lead with a penalty.

A few minutes later, a Chinnor kick through ended with the ball rolling against the flag on the Raiders goal line and Worthing had to scramble the ball out. The hosts remained under pressure on their own line and the ball was recycled a number of times before the visitors’ left-winger went over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Raiders got on the scoresheet through a Sean O’Hagan penalty shortly afterwards and Worthing enjoyed more pressure in the Chinnor half but with handling conditions abysmal, several chances went begging.

Chinnor then gained a series of penalties which they used to advance up the Worthing left. The Raiders defence held out for several minutes, before the visitors’ lock, Darren Oliver, picked the ball up after a ruck just inside the 22 and went over near the post. The conversion took Chinnor 15-3 ahead after 37 minutes.

Worthing got a try back on the stroke of half-time when Liam Perkins took a line-out and drove to the line, before James Arthur picked the ball up and dived over to score. O’Hagan converted to make the half-time score 15-10.

O’Hagan kicked off the second half with the wind at his back, beginning a period of play where Worthing enjoyed most of the ball but met resolute defence from the visitors. Eventually, Chinnor’s prop was yellow carded for an offence at a ruck under his posts and O’Hagan converted to bring the score back to 15-13.

O’Hagan pulled a penalty just wide with 25 minutes to go, before Raiders pressed again from the restart and forced Chinnor to infringe at the ruck. With the advantage, O’Hagan chipped through for Sam Aspland-Robinson but the visitors fielded the ball, so it was back for another penalty outside the 22 to Worthing.

O’Hagan converted to take Raiders into the lead for the first time, 16-15, with 22 minutes to go.

Worthing increased their lead seven minutes later when O’Hagan’s crosskick into the goal area saw Aspland-Robinson challenge the Chinnor winger in the air. The ball was knocked-on by the visitors and McLean capped a good return by diving on the ball for a try which the referee awarded after consulting his touch judge.

O’Hagan added the extras as Raiders went 23-15 ahead.

A ten minute period of scrappy play ensued with neither side able to gain any real advantage as defences remained on top. The game ended with Chinnor pressing the Worthing line but they were unable to close the gap as Raiders ran out worthy winners and also denied Chinnor a losing bonus point.

Worthing moved up a place to fifth from bottom with the win and travel to seventh-placed Redruth on Saturday.

RAIDERS: McLean, Aspland-Robinson, Davies, Greenwood, Farnes, O’Hagan, Leeming; Storer, Austin, Sargent, Barlow, Arthur, Richardson, Hewick, Perkins. Subs: Luke, Smith, Doignie, Whittall, Montgomery.

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