WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club went down 36-28 at home to Richmond in National 1 this afternoon.
The powerful visitors proved too strong in the second half and turned around a 21-10 half-time deficit to take a deserved victory.
Raiders, who were looking to climb out of the relegation places with a victory, had to settle for just a bonus point in their battle to avoid an immediate return to National 2 South.
They made two changes from their last outing against Cinderford with Jordan Burns and Charlie McGowan coming into the starting line-up at the expense of Kieran Leeming and Simon Gaynor.
Head coach Kieron Dawson named himself amongst the replacements for the first time this season, for use of a wise head, if required, later in the match.
Raiders looked the sharper in the early exchanges and a trademark Alex Nielsen run unlocked the visiting defence, but his flicked back to Joe Burns inside the 22 just evaded his hands.
The home side, however, gifted away the opening try after being penalised after ball was not put in straight at the scrum. A quickly-taken penalty was shifted wide to Rob Kirby, who dived over in the corner.
Raiders were ahead just six minutes later as Kiba Richards shifted the ball to Ollie Richards over on the far wing, and he powered across to cross by the posts.
Joe Govett’s first attempt at the posts sailed over for a 7-5 lead.
They extended their lead soon after as good passing from Dan Sargent and Rob Smith set Jordan Burns away and he raced home under the posts to give Govett an easy kick at the extras.
Richmond, however, hit straight back as John Attlee bundled the ball over after Raiders gave away a penalty inside their 22, although, again, Kirby missed his attempt at the extras.
On 26 minutes, there were yellow cards for Joe Burns and Alastair Lyon after a 30-man brawl broke out in the Raiders’ 22 during a maul and punches were thrown.
With the changes rung for the scrums and a nasty looking knee injury to a Richmond forward, play became disjointed, but Raiders struck again on 33 minutes.
A fantastic break from Kiba Richards after a line-out of the halfway line gained vital yards and with Ollie Richards in support, he eventually found Jordan Burns, who motored over for his second try. Govett kept up his kicking and took the score to 21-10.
At the other end, in the final action of the half, Kirby continued his poor showing with the boot by missing a penalty attempt.
First blood of the second half went to the visitors as Duncan Peters crossed after a line-out deep in Worthing territory and Kirby finally put over a kick on 43 minutes.
Just a minute later and Richmond eased over again as Robert Alexander raced away on the wing and touched down to turn the game on its head for a 22-21 lead.
But with more twists and turns, Raiders retook the lead on 48 minutes as James Chisholm took a pass, cut in and burst through to cross and secure a bonus point.
Govett was again on the money to take the score to 28-22, although, captain Matt Miles suffered a blow to the arm in the build-up and had to be replaced.
The visitors again hit back, using the technique they deployed at every opportunity - kicking for touch and driving from the resulting line-out and grounding the ball under a pile of bodies.
Kirby’s attempt at the extras went through via the inside of the post to swing the score to 29-28.
After a period of sustained pressure from the visitors deep inside the Worthing 22, they eventually extended their lead with a converted try from Attlee after a scrum was driven over the line.
Dawson threw himself into the mix in the last ten minutes, but Raiders just couldn’t carve out another any more points to secure a second bonus point.
WORTHING: Govett, Loosemore, O.Richards, K.Richards, Nielsen, Dudley, Jordan Burns, Sargent, Miles, Joe Burns, Barlow, McGowan, Smith, Chisholm, Perkins. Subs: Pointing (Miles 50), Hewick (Smith 59), Gaynor (Barlow 40), Leeming (Jordan Burns 77), Dawson (Joe Burns 71).