Raiders edge to tense win over Tonbridge Juddians
Worthing Raiders ended a run of six National 2 South defeats in succession by beating Tonbridge Juddians at Roundstone Lane this afternoon.
Tries from Sam Boyland and Matt Walsh were enough to see the home side earn a hard-fought 23-19 victory over Juddians.
Below-par Raiders, who'd faced six of the top-seven in their previous six matches, managed to turn around a 19-17 deficit in the final ten minutes to overcome Tonbridge.
Matt McLean held his nerve in the closing stages, crashing over two penalties, to help Raiders move up to tenth in the table.
Tonbridge were quick out of the traps, registering the first try inside three minutes. A slick move eventually saw Luke Bellinger go over.
Raiders responded well, though, and a converted try from Boyland saw the scores level at 7-7 after eight minutes.
The home side were struggling to retain possession but went ahead 13 minutes later. Walsh blocked an attempted kick from a Juddians player, the ball fell fortuitously in his path and he got Raiders' second try.
McLean then fired over a penalty two minutes prior to the interval as Worthing went in with a 17-7 lead.
Just as in the first half, Tonbridge had an early try early in the second. Hugo Watson's unconverted try brought them back to within five points three minutes after the restart.
Raiders were reduced to 14-men as Jide Ajayi was shown a yellow card for not releasing on 55 minutes.
Tonbridge took full advantage of the extra man, going back ahead courtesy of William Colderick's try after an hour.
Raiders were back to the full 15 players for the final 15 minutes but still trailed 19-17.
Facing a seventh defeat in succession, McLean fired Raiders back ahead with a penalty eight minutes from the end. The Welshman then fired over another penalty with less than a minute left to see Raiders to a first win in seven league matches.
Raiders travel to seventh-placed Canterbury next Saturday.
RAIDERS: Ajayi, Grief, Sargent, Spurgeon, Lake, Price, Dawe, Perkins; Walsh, McLean, Hampson, Forrest, Richards, Boyland, McIlwaine. Replacements: Luke, Litterick, Redmayne, Whittall, Leeming.