Raiders get welcome first win of the year

Alex Wilcockson touched down his sixth try of the season in Worthing Raiders' win at Cornish All Blacks on Saturday Picture by Stephen Goodger
Alex Wilcockson touched down his sixth try of the season in Worthing Raiders' win at Cornish All Blacks on Saturday Picture by Stephen Goodger

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club secured their first win of 2016 against bottom-of-the-table Cornish All Blacks on Saturday to move up to ninth in National League 2 South.

Raiders, who welcomed Kiba Richards back into the squad for the first time since 2014 after a spell at Rosslyn Park, got off to to the perfect start as they scored the first try after only four minutes.

From a five metre line-out, Rob Smith broke off the back of a maul and drove over the line, with Matt McLean adding the extras.

Worthing extended their lead straight from the re-start through Jonathan Whittall. Some excellent interplay between the forwards released Whittall from 20 metres out to score under the posts. McLean again converted to make the score 14-0.

Raiders continued to dominate the game before the hosts re-grouped and it developed into a tough physical battle of attrition for both sides, particularly among the forwards.

Despite their hard work and endeavour, neither side was able to score until just before the half-time whistle when Raiders got their third try. From a ruck, the ball was passed along the backs to Alex Wilcockson, who dived over to score his sixth try of the season in the corner. McLean again converted to make the half-time score 21-0.

Cornish All Blacks launched a couple of attacks at the start of the second half but, once again, their efforts were thwarted owing to careless handling mistakes.

It was Raiders who scored the first points of the half when, following a wave of drives from the forwards close to the hosts’ line, prop Dan Sargent picked the ball up from the base of a ruck and passed to McLean, who sprinted in from eight metres out to score in the corner and secure the four-try bonus point. The five points moved McLean on to 95 points for the season and saw him take over from Sean O’Hagan as Worthing’s leading scorer this season.

Three minutes later, Raiders got their fifth try when Ben Loosmore broke a tackle on the 22 metre line and sprinted for the try line, before passing inside to Sam Hewick to score under the posts. McLean again converted.

Cornish All Blacks responded well and went close to scoring when they launched a phase of eight drives just short of the Raiders line which were brilliantly defended and came to nothing after they were penalised.

Raiders once again took control and scored their sixth try of the afternoon in the 78th minute when Matt Farnes sprinted in from 20 metres, following some excellent interplay between the backs and forwards.

The hosts finally scored a consolation try right at the end when, following a wave of drives involving the forwards and backs, winger Martin Kneebone received a long pass to score in the corner.

The win saw Raiders move up two places to ninth in the table.

Worthing entertain third-from-bottom Redingensians Rams, who they lost 28-10 away to earlier in the season, on Saturday.

RAIDERS: Storer, Luke, Sargent, Barlow, Ure, Smith, Whittall, Perkins; Leeming, Montgomery, Farnes, Greenwood, Loosmore, Wilcockson, McLean. Subs: Watson-Brooks, Arthur, Margetson, Hewick, Richards.

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