WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club made the short journey up the A24 to play local rivals Dorking on Saturday hoping to extend their two-match winning run but they were narrowly defeated in a close and competitive game.
Dorking made the livelier start with the first ten minutes played mainly in the Raiders half, during which Worthing were guilty of giving away unnecessary penalties.
The first try of the game came from such a penalty when Raiders were penalised at a ruck five metres from their try line, which the Dorking scrum-half took quickly and ran for the line. He was tackled short but the referee awarded what was arguably a controversial penalty try for offside, for which Matt McLean was shown a yellow card. Mathew Noble successfully converted.
In the 15th minute, Dorking had the opportunity to add to their score after Raiders gave away yet another penalty but the attempted conversion was pushed wide of the post.
The hosts did extend their lead in the 20th minute, however. They took the ball cleanly from a line-out ten metres from the Raiders line and after a wave of drives from the forwards which were stopped short, the ball was passed out to Charles Stevenson who dived over. Noble added the extras.
Raiders were playing well but were guilty of careless mistakes and giving away too many penalties, which handed too much possession back to Dorking.
Worthing scored their first points after 24 minutes with a well-worked try after some good interplay involving forwards Elliott Luke and Dan Sargent. Dorking attempted to intercept a pass from Sargent but the ball found its way to McLean, who sprinted in to score in the corner but he missed the conversion.
Both sides were equally matched in the final ten minutes of the first half and there was no further scoring as Dorking led 15-5 at the break.
Raiders started the second half strongly as they went straight on the attack. After a series of drives through the forwards, they went over the line but the referee adjudged the ball was held up. From the five metre scrum, Raiders’ forwards again launched a series of drives and Sargent eventually touched down at the base of the post. McLean kicked the conversion.
McLean failed to convert a penalty, before Dorking picked their game up and against the run of play scored in the 58th minute. Harry Watts broke off a maul which had formed from a five metre line-out and dived over.
Noble added the extras and Dorking scored another try four minutes later. Fly-half Noble intercepted a Raiders pass to sprint in unopposed from 25 metres out and then successfully converted.
Raiders responded positively and went back on the attack. In the 67th minute they were awarded a penalty from which Dorking’s Armand Roux received a yellow card. They opted for a scrum and the forwards launched a series of drives which were stopped just short before the ball found Alex Wilcockson who ran in to score a converted try.
Dorking effectively made the game safe with another successful penalty conversion by Noble six minutes from the final whistle.
Raiders, however, did not give up and again raised their game. With three minutes remaining on the clock they were awarded a penalty five metres from the Dorking line from which scrum-half George Jackson received a yellow card to leave Dorking with 13 men.
Worthing again opted for a scrum and the ball was passed along the backs to McLean who sprinted in from 20 metres to score a try which he successfully converted.
That set up an exciting final couple of minutes where Raiders could draw level with a try or win with a converted try. However, it was not to be the perfect ending because, despite a final flurry from Raiders, they gave away a penalty and the ball was kicked out to herald the final whistle.
RAIDERS: Storer, Luke, Sargent, Barlow, Arthur, Richardson, Whittall, Perkins; Leeming, O’Hagan, McLean, Loosmore, Greenwood, Wilcockson, Davies. Subs: Austin, Burger, Margetson, Montgomery, Ure.
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