With a third of the season already behind us we welcomed Barnes to Roundstone Lane for this important mid-table clash.
Selection was again hampered by unavailabilities due to injury, skipper Liam Perkins being the latest added to this growing list. Rob Cuffe and George Hammond made their home debuts.
On a lovely, sunny afternoon and a dry pitch a crowd of well over five hundred expected an open, entertaining game with plenty of tries.
Raiders kicked off attacking the northern end of the ground and were quickly into their stride after gaining first use of the ball. The home side had a lineout deep in the visitors’ territory, the catch and drive took them close to the try line and the first try of the afternoon came when Jack Forrest put a perfectly weighted grubber kick beyond the defenders and Matt McLean raced through to make the touchdown wide on the right. The conversion was narrowly missed. A great start giving the home side a 5-0 lead after only three minutes.
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Almost from the restart Barnes scored their first try of the afternoon to level the scores at 5-5 after they also missed the conversion.
Both sides were obviously going to move the ball by hand as much as possible and so plenty of open, running rugby was on show. Despite the best intentions of both sides errors prevented either side from dominating play.
After thirteen minutes Raiders found themselves defending on the five metre line. The visitors moved the ball wide in an attempt to out flank the defence but Jack Forrest read the play successfully and intercepted the ball and sprinted ninety metres to score under the posts. With the extra two points added by Matt McLean the lead was 12-5.
Things were looking good for Raiders until just before the end of the first quarter when Kemp Price and Jack Forrest left the field with injuries at the same time. George Hammond and Sam Boyland replaced them for the rest of the game.
Within a few minutes Barnes were again on the scoreboard with a converted try to level the scores at 12-12. After the two injuries the home side were taking a bit of time to get back into their stride until Kiba Richards burst through the defence to make thirty metres before passing to Sam Boyland who released Matt McLean to finish the move with a try under the posts, Matt converted to take the lead again at 19-12.
This seesaw half took another turn before half time when Barnes responded with two scores to take the lead 19-26.
Half time score: Worthing Raiders 19 Barnes 26
Barnes restarted the game after the break defending the southern end of the ground. As in the first half Raiders made a fast start and pinned the visitors down deep in their own half. Although the home side looked like scoring from all this pressure the visitors defended well.
With fourteen minutes gone Barnes received a yellow card for an infringement at the ruck near their goal line and from the next scrum Raiders went through the phases at close quarters before Jack Lee went over for the fourth and bonus point try. With the conversion unsuccessful Raiders had closed the gap to 24-26.
The visitors responded almost immediately with a score of their own to stretch the lead to 24-31.
The home side continued to mount searching attacks but couldn’t finish any of them with a score. With the game now in the last quarter a tight finish looked on the cards.
Unfortunately it was the visitors who got the next score as the game continued to go from end to end. Their lead extending to twelve points at 24-36.
As the game entered the last ten minutes Raiders fought to find the two scores that would get them back into the lead. When Barnes kicked a penalty to stretch the lead to 24-39 the task became even greater.
With only a minute to play a neat chip by Matt McLean was gathered by Harry Forrest who touched down, the successful conversion closed the gap to 31-39 but it was too late for the home side to make any further inroads into the lead as the referee’s whistle signalled full time.
Full time score: Worthing Raiders 31 Barnes 39
A disappointing result as enough chances had been created to win the game. With a difficult run of games to come the injury hit squad will have to raise its game and be more clinical in attack and defence over the coming weeks.
The big crowd did all they could to cheer on the side and although they may have enjoyed some exciting rugby they too will be disappointed with the final result.
Referee: Samuel Phillips
Tries: Matt McLean x 2, Jack Forrest, Jack Lee, Harry Forrest
Cons: Matt McLean x 3
B & W Man of the Match: Jack Lee
Team: Matt McLean – Captain 14. Alex Basson 13. Kiba Richards 12. Harrison Sims 11. Harry Forrest 10. Jack Forrest (Boyland 20 mins) 9. Ben Holt 1. Henry Birch (Gatford 65 mins) 2. Will Grief (Luke 65 mins) 3. Kieran Sassone (Adams 40 mins) 4. Jack Lee 5. Jack Lake 6. Rob Cuffe (Sassone 70 mins) 7. George Harris 8. Kemp Price (Hammond 20 mins)
Bench: Elliott Luke 17. Tom Adams 18. Grant Gatford 19. Sam Boyland 23. George Hammond