Raiders close gap on leaders with Hertford win
WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club closed the gap on National 2 South leaders Richmond to three points on Saturday with their bonus-point win over Hertford.
Worthing secured the four-try bonus point to take five points from their 31-14 win and Richmond picked up just four points as they failed to touch down a single try in a game for the first time this season in their 18-13 success at Dings Crusaders.
Another plus for Worthing was Hartpury College’s 34-20 defeat at Henley Hawks, who leapfrogged Hartpury into third place, and Raiders now have a eight-point cushion over Henley.
Raiders captain Matt Miles said: “It was an extremely good weekend for us and every week is vital now.
“We’ve got to look to pick up five points every week and, hopefully, like this weekend, Richmond will drop points.
“We’re three points behind them now and Hartpury lost as well, so Henley are up to third, which gives us a slight cushion but there’s still not much breathing space.
“We’ve just got to go out and try to pick up five points every week now.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves, put another win on the board and then look at the other results afterwards.
“As we’re a top-of-the-league side, every team below us now treats it as a cup final when they play us, where they have nothing to lose and if they win, it’s a bonus.
Worthing went ahead on 13 minutes when Rob Smith picked the ball up from the scrum and powered over next to the right-hand post and Matt McLean converted for a 7-0 lead.
Hertford pulled level on 27 minutes when Alex Walker touched down wide on the left following a line-out and Rob Richardson kicked the extras.
It took Raiders just three minutes to go back ahead as Miles strode through to score and McLean converted.
Worthing added a third try against the run of play on the stroke of half-time when Michael Stubbs went over and McLean’s conversion made the half-time score 21-7.
Raiders got their fourth try early in the second half when Charlie McGowan broke through the defence and allowed the centres to swing the ball out to Alex Nielsen, who squeezed over in the corner for his 13th try of the season.
After a spell of pressure in Raiders’ half, Will Stutchbury drove forward and Jamie Redmayne touched down to make the score 31-7.
Hertford had the last word, though, as Mike Allen went over in the corner and Oliver Forrest converted.
Raiders are at Taunton on Saturday (3pm).