RUGBY: Raiders target sixth place

TWO LATE converted tries gave National 2 South leaders Barking a flattering 29-6 win over Worthing Raiders on Saturday but Raiders team manager David Hinchcliffe is still eyeing a top-six finish.

Roundstone Lane crowds have been treated to a number of late shows from Worthing this season, but Saturday was their biggest test of recent weeks and the performance convinced Hinchcliffe they are capable of taking the sixth spot.

He said: "It was only 15-6 with four minutes to go, so the two tries made the score look worse than it was.

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"They were worth the win but we defended very well at times and they were quite worried we could get back into it and take a bonus point, or even get a result from the game at one stage. There was massive relief from their bench when they secured the game.

"The game saw Barking's best-defence record in the league meet the third best, ours, so a tight game was probably predictable. We both had chances in the second half and, for a neutral, it would have been a great game.

"We face Canterbury, who are sixth, at the weekend and it's a big game. They won again, so have opened up a gap. If we beat them, though, they'll be two points ahead but we'll have a game in hand.

"If we win that, we have a realistic chance of sixth place. Without a shocking end to the season, we will finish where we want '“ around the upper mid-table."

On Saturday, it looked as though it would be fairly tight going into half-time at 7-6, before Worthing captain James Arthur picked up a yellow card for pulling back a Barking player off the ball.

Barking made the extra man count and kicked the resulting penalty and then ran in an unconverted try in first-half injury time.

Matt McLean had kicked Worthing ahead with a penalty on five minutes, before Barking crashed over three minutes later after a passing move, which was then converted.

Just after the half hour, McLean kicked another penalty before the drama just before half-time.

After the break, Raiders' Jamie Redmayne and McLean were both held up in Worthing's best chances, while some battling defending kept Barking from extending the lead.

Barking were reduced to 14 men in the later stages but Worthing failed to capitalise on the advantage.

On 76 minutes, Barking finally got the first points of the half when Scott Shaw put down his second try of the match.

And in injury-time, Shaw went over to complete his hat-trick.

WORTHING: Bruce, Cleveland, Bennett, Launchbury, McGowan, Arthur, Redmayne,Taulava, Costigan, Dudley, Marsh, Dunckley, Walker, Maslen, McLean. Subs: Smith, Emmett, Hewick, Marshall, Rogers.

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