WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club worked hard to beat a spirited Canterbury side in poor weather conditions on Saturday.
Raiders went straight on the offensive from the start and were rewarded with a penalty after only two minutes, which Matt McLean successfully converted.
For the next ten minutes, Raiders continued to apply pressure on Canterbury and on 13 minutes were awarded another penalty, which McLean again kicked between the posts.
On 17 minutes, after some effective drives from the forwards, the ball was passed to Finlay Coxon-Smith, who sprinted from five metres out to score under the posts and McLean added the extras.
Apart from a couple of attacks by Canterbury into the Raiders half which proved scoreless, Raiders maintained total control of the game for most of the half.
With five minutes to go until half-time, Canterbury finally applied consistent pressure on the Raiders line, with some effective drives from forwards and backs alike.
Their pressure paid off when hooker Sam Rogers drove over to score and Tom Best converted.
Both sides played some lively rugby for the first five minutes of the second half and in the 46th minute Canterbury were awarded a penalty for offside. However, the attempted conversion hit a post.
Raiders then lost a little cohesion, while Canterbury stepped up their game.
They were rewarded in the 50th minute when winger Mason Rosvell sprinted over, after a number of phases involving the forwards driving for the Raiders line. Best was unable to add the extras, which left the score 13-12 to Worthing.
Raiders came back into the game and the honours were even for the next 20 minutes, with both sides playing some excellent, entertaining rugby, considering the deteriorating conditions, owing to the fine rain and temperature dropping.
Both sides overcame the conditions, attacking and defending each other with real commitment and the scoreline could have been different but for unforced errors throughout the game.
The final score of the match came in the 77th minute when Charlie McGowan drove over the line with the help of the forwards behind him. McLean converted to deny the hosts a losing bonus point.
The win was Raiders’ fourth in a row and sixth in seven games, with the only defeat in that run to bottom-of-the-table Dings Crusaders.
Raiders closed the gap on second-placed Dorking to 12 points, after Dorking lost 6-5 at home to Chinnor, who Worthing host on Saturday.
RAIDERS: Storer, Luke, Sargent, Barlow, McGowan, Smith, Redmayne, Perkins; Waters, Leeming, Greenwood, Coxon-Smith, Loosmore, Forrest, McLean. Subs: Hewick, Walker, South, Dudley, Miles.