WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club lost to Southend Saxons for the second time this season on Saturday, 25-10 in a poor spectacle on a sticky pitch which deteriorated throughout the game.
It was Worthing’s third loss in their last four matches against Southend and the defeat was more disappointing because Southend were lying five places below Raiders, in the relegation zone of National 2 South, and went into the game on the back of six straight defeats.
In what proved to be a fairly dire first half, Southend opened the scoring through a Bradley Burr penalty in the fourth minute.
Matt McLean levelled the score in the ninth minute with a penalty for Raiders.
Southend responded a minute later when their scrum-half put in a grub kick towards the Worthing line and Christopher Shields won the chase to score the try, from which Raiders’ Matt Farnes was unlucky to receive a yellow card.
Raiders went down to 13 men five minutes later when Elliott Luke was yellow-carded but Southend were unable to capitalise on their five minute two-man advantage. Just before the half-time whistle, Southend scored through Craig Strachan. Burr added the extras as the half-time whistle blew with Southend 15-3 ahead, which reflected Raiders’ pretty innocuous first half performance.
Worthing appeared to start the second half with more purpose but it was Southend who extended their lead after ten minutes when a cleverly angled kick for the corner bounced kindly for full-back Mark Billings to sprint over and score from eight metres. Burr again successfully converted.
Raiders responded well and reduced the deficit when Liam Perkins picked up from the scrum and drove over from eight metres to score, and McLean converted.
Five minutes later, Raiders were penalised and Burr successfully converted to make the score 25-10.
That heralded a frenetic final 20 minutes when Raiders picked up their game and they went on the attack and launched some powerful drives through the forwards close to the Southend line but without success.
Raiders continued to exert pressure in the final minutes and the Southend hooker Matthew Bloomberg was yellow carded, with Raiders awarded a penalty five metres from the try line.
As they had a man advantage in the pack, Raiders opted for a scrum but were unable to capitalise.
Southend were subsequently penalised twice again in the same position and Raiders continued to elect for the scrum but they still failed to score, primarily due to some resolute defensive work.
RAIDERS: Margetson, Luke, Sargent, Barlow, Ure, Smith, Hewick, Perkins; Leeming, Montgomery, Farnes, Richards, Loosmore, Greenwood, McLean. Subs: Richardson, Arthur, Gibson, Peach, Wilcockson.
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