RUGBY: One-point win boosts Worthing

WORTHING RAIDERS took another step to safety with a superb 26-25 win at sixth-place Dings Crusaders on Saturday which moved them up to fifth bottom and five points clear of the National 3 South drop zone.

Director of rugby Ian Davies last week said that only wins would suffice in their battle for survival and the Raiders showed they mean business at Dings.

The result proved even more important as it kept Raiders top of the relegation battle, as Chinnor beat Havant and Lydney picked up a losing bonus point. Bridgwater have also dropped into the relegation mix, and are now third from bottom, after their 30-8 defeat at Ealing.

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Davies agreed that it was one of his side's most important wins of the season and said: "It was a really, really, good win, and four points which we desperately needed.

"To go 10 points down and come back, and then to throw it away again with two quick tries, you start to think it's going to be a very long afternoon.

"But we always knew we could win it and we stuck it out, and showed tremendous spirt in the second half.

"It was one of our best wins but, in the end, the most important one will be the one that keeps us up."

Despite Kacper Lawski and Micky Pointing touching down and Ben Coulson kicking two penalties, it looked as though the result would be what the table positions predicted as Dings were 25-16 ahead at half-time.

However, a second-half surge and strong defending saw Worthing keep out their opponents, while Kyle Coulter touched down and Coulson added the conversion to take Worthing to within two points of Dings.

With Dings penalty count mounting, their No 8, Michael Panoho, was sent to the sin bin and Coulson sent the resulting penalty kick over, with 10 minutes left, to conclude the scoring.

Worthing now face second-placed Ealing at Roundstone Lane on Saturday (3pm) and Davies believes the win at Dings should fill Raiders with confidence.

He said: "We have never beaten Ealing and sometimes have lost by considerable margins, so it'll be a great way to see how far we have come. It won't be an easy day at the office but is a challenge we will grab with both hands."

Worthing are without the injured Charlie McGowan, while Matt McLean and Ryan Storer will have fitness tests. Will Harris is back available.

Worthing did not celebrate a double victory at the weekend, though, as their 2nd XV crashed out of the Sussex Trophy, 44-20, at Hove in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Davies said: "Although we wanted to get to the final, it was job done on Saturday.

"We were disappointed, but I did manage to sleep well on Sunday night. If we had lost both games, it would have been a very different story.

"Hove ran out deserved winners and good luck to them in the final."

Worthing went 10-0 up with tries from McLean and Callum Wilson early on but Hove scored at regular intervals to take the scoreline beyond Raiders.

Gavin Stephens scored a consolation late on, which was converted by Matt Keen, but Raiders were beaten by the better side.

WORTHING v Dings: McLean, Maslen, Marshall, Wilson, Coulson, Dudley, Govett, Jones, Redmayne, Levett, Coulter, Lawski, Burns, Pointing, Storer. Subs: Emmett (Burns 45), Arthur (Coulter 55), Nielsen (Wilson 70), Blumberg, Rogers.

v Hove: McLean, Yates, Dunkley, Wilson, Stephens, Dudley, Peach, Kirchell, Smith, Arthur, Coulter, Lawski, Burns, Blumberg, Emmett. Subs: Keen (Peach 7), Fisher (Burns 40), Morgan, Lee (Dudley, Wilson 50), Hewett (Lawski 54), Cleveland (Coulter 56).


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