WITH a number of key players back, Worthing Raiders Rugby Club returned to winning ways with an entertaining victory 40-13 away to Shelford on Saturday.
Following a disallowed Raiders try after ten minutes, it was Shelford who led after an evenly-matched first 20 minutes through a Steven Smith penalty.
Raiders’ first points came when Matt McLean dived over to score a try in the corner after he received the ball following a huge drive from the forwards from a five-metre scrum, and he also successfully converted.
A ten-minute period followed with Shelford playing the more positive rugby but the tide turned in the final ten minutes of the half when Worthing’s Liam Perkins scored after some brilliant interplay involving the forwards and the backs from the halfway line.
Raiders finished the first half strongly when their now dominant pack won a Shelford scrum and Joe Marchant sprinted from the 22 metre line to score under the posts, after some excellent passing involving Matt Miles and Charlie McGowan. McLean successfully converted.
Raiders’ supremacy of the scrum continued in the second half and inadvertently contributed to their next score.
Shelford were awarded a scrum five metres from the Raiders line but they were pushed off the ball. As a result, Alex Nielsen ran up to the halfway line before passing to Calum Waters, who sprinted down the wing before an excellent tackle took him into touch just short of the Shelford try line.
Shelford missed their jumper and Dan Sargent gratefully received the ball to stroll over from five metres to score the try. McLean again added the extras.
Shelford responded a few minutes later when, after a series of drives from their forwards, Michael Stanway received a long pass on the wing before sprinting 22 metres to score in the corner.
Although Raiders had lost some of the control they enjoyed at the end of the first half, in the 67th minute Perkins cleverly knocked back an attempted kick for touch by Shelford. The ball was passed along the line to Marchant, who galloped up to the Shelford 22 metre line before passing to McLean to score his second try of the afternoon, which he also successfully converted.
Shelford then launched a series of drives but were prevented from scoring by some excellent defensive work, before Raiders scored their final try through Jonathan Whittall after some superb interplay involving the forwards and backs from the halfway line. McLean again added the extras.
Three minutes from the final whistle, Stanway scored a consolation try for Shelford after he collected a chipped kick and scored in the corner.
Worthing entertain Cambridge on Saturday.
RAIDERS: Storer, Miles, Sargent, Barlow, McGowan, South, Redmayne, Perkins; Waters, Leeming, Dudley, Coxon-Smith, Nielsen, Marchant, McLean. Subs: Walker, Hewick, Greenwood, Piper, Whittall.