Worthing Raiders suffered a 37-15 defeat to Clifton on Saturday.
The squad had one change from the previous week with Tom Adams replacing the unavailable Kieran Sassone.
The pitch at Clifton was in immaculate condition which is more than can be said for the weather. A fast open game it was unlikely to be as continuous rain fell from first thing in the morning to well beyond the end of the game.
So it was, that the weather and the big, experienced Clifton pack determined the way the game would be played.
Raiders kicked off and were quickly under pressure from the driving, close quarter play from Clifton. Within a couple of minutes the visitors were 7-0 down. Shortly after the lead stretched to 10-0 when Clifton slotted a penalty kick.
Under pressure Raiders conceded penalties which gave the home side the chance to dominate field position. With a quarter of the game gone Raiders were 17-3 behind, Matt McLean having put the visitors on the board with a penalty. So far they had had very little ball to play with.
After twenty five minutes the referee gave a penalty against Raiders and then reversed his decision. The clearing kick resulted in a lineout on the home sides’ ten metre line. The ball was cleanly taken by Liam Perkins and moved to Matt McLean who gave a neat pass to Sam Boyland who broke clean through the Clifton defence, as he was about to be tackled he slipped the ball to John Dawe who coasted in to score an excellent try, with the conversion added by Matt McLean the lead was reduced to 17-10.
Throughout the half the Raiders’ defence across the field had been excellent, frequently tackling the Clifton backs behind the gain line and forcing them back.
Just on half time Clifton kicked another penalty to stretch their lead to 20-10 at the break.
The second half almost started like last week, Clifton kicked off and Raiders ran from deep moving the ball to John Dawe who made a great break up the right-wing as he approached the home sides’ ten metre line he tried to free the ball to the supporting runners but unfortunately the ball was knocked on and the chance was missed.
As conditions deteriorated Clifton kept the ball amongst their forwards and used their power to extend the lead.
Whenever Raiders had the ball they tried to play a more open style, but in these conditions it was very difficult to put phases together and really stretch the defence.
Suffering two yellow cards for technical infringements didn’t help the visitors’ cause.
As the game neared the final whistle a quick tap and go from Matt Walsh ended with Curtis Barnes scoring in the corner, with the conversion missed the final score was 37-15.
Despite the awful conditions and the result it was great to see and hear the Worthing supporters getting behind their team.
Final Score: Clifton 37 Worthing Raiders 15
Referee: Benjamin Russell
Tries: John Dawe, Curtis Barnes
Cons: Matt McLean x 1
Pens: Matt McLean x 1
Team: 1. Henry Birch 2. Will Grief (Luke 64 mins) 3. Grant Gatford (Adams 41 mins) 4. Michael Dingle 5. Jack Lake (Spurgeon 54 mins) 6. John Whittall (Harris 54 mins) 7. John Dawe 8. Liam Perkins – Captain; 9. Matt Walsh 10. Matt McLean 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Jack Forrest13. Kiba Richards 14. Sam Boyland (Gatford 51 mins, Boyland 59 mins, Sims 64 mins)) 15. Jack Maslen
Bench: 16. Elliott Luke 17. Tom Adams 18. Joe Spurgeon 19. George Harris 20. Harrison Sims