WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club touched down nine tries as they recorded their biggest win of the season on Saturday.
It proved to be a comfortable afternoon for Worthing as they touched down their opening try of the National 2 South match after only four minutes. From a line-out, Raiders worked the ball across the field for Kieran Leeming to feed Alex Nielsen and he skipped past the last Lydney player to touch down.
Matt McLean added the extras to make the score 7-0.
Nielsen almost got a second try on seven minutes but he was dragged into touch. However, Raiders did touch down again just a minute later. Matt Miles, Leeming and Joe Marchant were all involved, before McLean went over and then added the extras.
Raiders extended their lead further after just 15 minutes. After Rob Smith and then Miles were held up, quick hands from Leeming allowed Finlay Coxon-Smith to burst through and McLean again converted.
Coxon-Smith was held up just short of the try line on 23 minutes, before Marchant’s attempted pass for two players in support was cut out by the last Lydney defender.
Worthing sealed the four-try bonus point on 26 minutes with another superb try. Charlie McGowan stole the ball and fed Jamie Redmayne, who exchanged passes with McLean, before going over. McLean’s conversion made the score 28-0.
Lydney had Anthony Wicks yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on after 30 minutes but the visitors held on while a man down as the score was 28-0 at the break.
Raiders rotated their squad during the second period and were camped in Lydney’s half at the start until they got their fifth try on 57 minutes. Calum Waters, Leeming and Nielsen all combined for Ben Loosmore to skip through and touch down but McLean was unable to add the extras.
Nielsen got his second try on 63 minutes, which was awarded after the referee spoke to his touch judge, following McLean’s kick over the Lydney defence. McLean’s conversion attempt landed short.
It looked as though Lydney would return home pointless again, after a 53-0 defeat on their last visit to Roundstone Lane two years ago, but John Rogers ensured that would not be the case. On 66 minutes, he touched down after an excellent solo run but the conversion attempt went wide.
Raiders then added three more tries in the final seven minutes. Waters touched down an opportunist try following McLean’s clever quick pass on 73 minutes and McLean added the extras.
Worthing then got another superb try two minutes later. Smith broke from deep inside his own half, passed to Sam Hewick, who played the ball to Raiders’ captain and he ran through to go over under the posts. McLean’s conversion made the score 52-5.
There was still time for Raiders to add a ninth try with the last play of the game. McLean and Hewick combined to get Nielsen through to complete his hat-trick for his 14th try of the season. McLean converted for the seventh time in the match.
Raiders head coach Kieron Dawson said: “It was fantastic. Everyone was disappointed with last week’s performance as we didn’t really turn up.
“There was a lot of soul searching and a lot of hard work during the week as well and all of it on handling.
“The pitch was very heavy but we scored some excellent tries and it was some of the best rugby I’ve seen in a long time.
“It was good to get the four-try bonus point so early as we were able to look at the bench and they all came on and acquitted themselves really well. I said in the huddle post-match that you just know when we don’t have to say anything to the players.
“At half-time and post-match, we had four points we wanted to make and the captain made all of them. Our forwards were great again, our backs were right on the money and Nick (Buoy) and I were able to stand back.
“You know as a coach that when you can do that, the team is where it needs to be.
“If scores go our way, a miracle might be on the cards, especially with more performances like today.”
After winning December’s Samsung Try of the Month, Raiders will be able to enter some of their tries on Saturday in the January competition and Dawson said: “There were three or four great tries in there.
“We’ll get them sent off as it’s great publicity for the club but we also got £1,000-worth of Samsung equipment, which we can use to anaylse games. Not only is it great kudos but it’s great publicity as well and helps the club.”
Raiders moved up two places to fourth with the victory, closing the gap on second-placed Dorking to nine points, although Worthing have played a game more.
Dorking were held to a 17-17 draw at Cornish All Blacks, while leaders Henley moved eight points clear at the top, with a 32-27 win at Cambridge.
Raiders travel to fifth-placed Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday.
RAIDERS: Marchant, McLean, Loosmore, Coxon-Smith, Nielsen, Leeming, Waters; Walker, Miles, Sargent, Barlow, McGowan, South, Redmayne, Smith. Subs: Storer, Luke, Hewick, Yates, Dudley.