Raiders regroup to avoid sting against valiant Birmingham

Jack Forrest bagged two tries in Raiders' thrilling win over Birmingham & Solihull. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Jack Forrest bagged two tries in Raiders' thrilling win over Birmingham & Solihull. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing Raiders were pushed all the way before eventually prevailing in a 13-try National 2 South thriller at Roundstone Lane this afternoon.

Raiders ran in eight tries, following on from the ten they notched in their opening home fixture of the campaign, to come away 51-37 victors over newly promoted Birmingham & Solihull.

Worthing looked on course for another convincing triumph in their second game at Roundstone Lane this season, leading 34-16 with just under 20 minutes to play. But there was to be a sting in the tale as the visiting Bees scored 21 unanswered points in under ten minutes to mount a remarkable turnaround.

Raiders were shaken before managing to regroup with three tries in the final few minutes from Jonathan Dawe (two) and Matt McLean firing the home side to an enthralling victory, continuing their perfect start at Roundstone Lane so far this term.

Birmingham made a blistering start, getting the first points of the day courtesy of Corey Venus' try inside two minutes.

Raiders looked lethargic and well below their best for the majority of the first period but skipper Liam Perkins and Curtis Barnes - his sixth try of the season - went over in the space of a couple of minutes to hand the home side a 15-5 advantage after 20 minutes.

Matt McLean got two tries as Raiders overcame Birmingham & Solihull. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Matt McLean got two tries as Raiders overcame Birmingham & Solihull. Picture by Stephen Goodger

A third Worthing try before the break would come from McLean to ensure Raiders led 22-11 at the interval.

Just as in the first half Birmingham got the first points after the restart through Maxwell Rodman's try, bringing the scores back to 22-16.

Raiders looked to have ended any hopes Bees had of getting back in it with Jack Forrest twice going over in the space of seven second half minutes.

Trailing by 18 points and less than 20 minutes remaining, there was to be a sting in the tail. Umraan Jadwat got Birmingham's third try after 63 minutes - sparking a run of 21 unanswered points in under ten minutes - to give Bees a 37-34 advantage with not long left.

Raiders were reeling but somehow managed to regroup and come away with a bonus point triumph.

A late try double from Dawe, with a McLean score sandwiched in the middle, ensured Worthing turned it around and came away 51-37 victors.

RAIDERS: Birch, Luke, Adams, Dingle, Lake, Harris, Dawe, Perkins; Walsh, McLean, Barnes, Forrest, Richards, Boyland, Maslen. Replacements: Grief, Gatford, Cook, Sims, Lee.

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