Worthing Raiders win the try count but lose tight encounter at Sevenoaks

Worthing Raiders' Frank Taggart tries to evade a Sevenoaks man | Picture: Colin Coulson
Worthing Raiders' Frank Taggart tries to evade a Sevenoaks man | Picture: Colin Coulson

It was the second week in a row that Raiders had lost by one score and on both occasions they have lost to penalty kicks having outscored the opposition in tries.

One point earned on the road might be of great importance later in the season as Raiders now seem to be in a battle at the wrong end of the table.

Positives to come out of this game were the possession provided by the forwards at scrum and lineout and the excellent defence from the whole squad preventing the opposition scoring any tries.

Harry Forrest, Will Gearing-Grief & Harrison Sims in the thick of the action at Sevenoaks | Colin Coulson
Harry Forrest, Will Gearing-Grief & Harrison Sims in the thick of the action at Sevenoaks | Colin Coulson

There is another big game next week (Nov 25) when big spenders Tonbridge Juddians visit Roundstone Lane.

After a very close game against Henley the previous week Raiders travelled to Kent to play Sevenoaks. Raiders won home and away last season but only by a small margin in both games. Prior to kick off Sevenoaks were three points and two places above Raiders in the league.

For this important fixture Raiders made five changes due to further injury and unavailability. Luke Day made his debut and Dan Sargent, Alfie Ambrose, Will Rigelsford and Jack Doorey-Palmer all returned to the squad. With skipper Jack Forrest still injured, Jack Lake continued to lead the team.

After another very wet week the Sevenoaks’ pitch had to pass an inspection early on Saturday morning in order for the game to take place. The rain relented around lunchtime but the pitch was very heavy and a less than expansive game was expected.

Raiders kicked off with the wind behind them and were soon on the attack. Although no points were scored the visitors had the better of the possession and territory in the first ten minutes.

The home side then had a spell of possession and to their credit attempted to play some open rugby. The Raiders’ defence was good enough to snub out any blossoming attacks and for the rest of the half were the dominant side. Conditions were far from easy and many an attack broke down as players misplaced passes or the ball was knocked on in contact.

Raiders touched down three times during this period but two were ruled out by the referee. Harry Forrest touched down first but the final pass was adjudged to be forward. Will Rigelsford also touched down after a Sevenoaks’ defender flicked a ball infield near his own line, but the assistant referee ruled the defender had actually taken the ball out of play first.

However, in the 30th minute Raiders moved the ball confidently across the backs before Harry Forrest made a break in which he shrugged off several tackle before scoring under the posts. Josh Bellamy converted to give the visitors a 0-7 lead ten minutes before half-time. Raiders ended the half pounding away at the Sevenoaks’ goal line but they could not get the important try prior to half time.

In fairness to both sides maintaining possession and going through more than a couple of phases was difficult to say the least. A rather lack lustre, scrappy half came to an end with the visitors leading 0-7.

The second half was started by Sevenoaks and by this time the light was fading fast. The home side used the strong breeze to kick the ball long distances down the ground and the visitors tried to run the ball back under pressure. The outcome was that most of the game was now being played in the Raiders’ half.

Sevenoaks opened their account within moments of the restart with a penalty to close the gap to 3-7. Two minutes later Josh Bellamy replied with a penalty for Raiders re-establishing a seven-point gap at 3-10.

There was little in the way of entertaining rugby for the neutral spectator and the home side kicked a further three penalties during the rest of the half to turn the 6-10 deficit into a 15-10 lead. Raiders worked hard and came close to crossing the Sevenoaks’ line on more than one occasion but inaccuracy in their execution let them down.

The rapidly fading light certainly didn’t help the game as a spectacle and with the already poor conditions underfoot made all aspects of the game more difficult for the players.

Referee: Phil Russell

Scorers: Try: Harry Forrest. Con: Josh Bellamy + Penalty

Team: 1. Balazs Magda 2. Jack Doorey-Palmer 3. Ben Featherstone 4. Jack Lake – Captain 5. Dan Macadams 6. Will Gearing-Grief 7. Joe Knight 8. Frank Taggart 9. Cam Dobinson 10. Josh Bellamy 11. Will Rigelsford 12. Harrison Sims 13. Harry Forrest 14. Tom Bowen 15. Louis Ellis. Bench: 16. Grant Gatford 17. Dan Sargent 18. Alfie Ambrose 19. Luke Day 20. Charlie Spencer