Raiders’ Rochford rout delights Roundstone Lane faithful

It started with high winds, torrential rain and a wet, muddy pitch – but Worthing Raiders played some outstanding rugby to beat Rochford Hundred 68-3 in National two east and move into the top three.
The Raiders celebrate a try by MoM Dan Sargent | Picture: Stephen GoodgerThe Raiders celebrate a try by MoM Dan Sargent | Picture: Stephen Goodger
The Raiders celebrate a try by MoM Dan Sargent | Picture: Stephen Goodger

The handling skills in such conditions were exceptional. The forwards had controlled possession and allowed the backs to demonstrate their ability to the full.

Another five points puts Raiders in third place in the league.

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Worthing Raiders on the front foot against Rochford | Picture: Stephen GoodgerWorthing Raiders on the front foot against Rochford | Picture: Stephen Goodger
Worthing Raiders on the front foot against Rochford | Picture: Stephen Goodger

The MoM award went to prop forward Dan Sargent for his all-round performance in the set-piece and around the field.

Thanks went to the crowd for coming out to support the team on a grotty day. They will have gone home very happy.

Raiders made five changes with Harry Browne, Zach Carr and Nathan Jibulu unavailable through their involvement in the England U20 squad.

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Into the squad came Jamie Ure, Tom Hatch, Caleb Ashworth, Charlie Clare and Alex Davies.

Raiders had been unable to train on Thursday evening because of the waterlogged training pitch.

But for a valiant effort from a small team of club members to remove standing water from the pitch, the game may not have been possible.

By kick-off the rain had relented and the pitch was playable, if muddy.

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Raiders kicked off towards the northern end of the ground and were quickly on the attack.

They moved the ball confidently through the hands of the forwards and backs until they earned a lineout close to the Rochford try line.

They drove towards the try line and eventually skipper Liam Perkins touched down and Matt McLean converted, giving them an early 7-0 lead.

Rochford kicked a penalty to close the gap to 7-3 a few minutes later.

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Raiders were playing their usual brand of open rugby but also using the boot to put them into good attacking areas.

After ten minutes Sam Evans launched a high kick in midfield and Curtis Barnes leapt high among the Rochford defenders to catch the ball then streak away to score Raiders’ second try which McLean converted - 14-3.

On 14 minutes the home side kicked to the corner from a penalty and from the ensuing lineout built a good attack that resulted in a goal-line drop out when they were held up over the line.

A couple of minutes later accurate, fast movement of the ball saw Barnes in space. As the defence closed around him he put a neat kick ahead into the in goal area.McLean chased it down but couldn’t quite get to it.

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Raiders scored their third try after 22 minutes. From a lineout the ball went into midfield and was passed back inside to Barnes coming in from the blind side wing allowing him a clear run to the line. McLean added the extras, 21-3.

On 30 minutes another well-constructed try came from the home side.

After a well-organised catch and drive the forwards pounded the defence close to the try line, and the ball was moved across the backs and a fine switch pass to Jack Forrest, who had cut a great running line, split the defence and scored unopposed. Another conversion from McLean made it 28-3.

The pack were having possibly their strongest performance of the season so far, constantly producing quality possession for the backs.

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The coaches made full use of the bench and regularly introduced fresh legs to help maintain the dominance.

Shortly before half-time Raiders were attacking deep in Rochford’s 22m area. The forwards kept the ball close and probed the defence until at last Ethan Clarke crashed over to score the fifth try of the half.

The conversion from McLean gave Raiders a 35-3 lead at the break.

Rochford restarted and soon found themselves lining up under their posts after Raiders had scored their sixth try. Excellent handling skills in the backs saw Barnes receive the ball on the left touchline and with 40m to go and several players to beat, his pace and changes of direction earned him his hat trick. McLean converted.

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Every player in a Raiders’ shirt was performing to a very high standard and try as they did, Rochford couldn’t do anything to prevent the try scoring.

Sam Evans had controlled the running and positional game from fly-half and took a well-earned rest allowing Alex Davies to take over, which he did perfectly.

Raiders’ next try came from a well-executed catch and drive resulting in Sargent scoring and again McLean converting - 49-3.

As the game progressed the scrum became more and more dominant, and combining this with the quality ball being won at the lineouts the home side were playing exciting rugby.

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Even when Davies received a yellow card for not rolling away at a ruck the Raiders continued to play open, flowing rugby.

In the 26th minute of the half the home side scored a push-over try from a 5m scrum with Frank Taggart touching it down. The conversion by McLean took the score to 56-3.

Rochford looked like they would cross the line for their first try. But at a ruck 5m from the Raiders’ line Charlie Clare pounced on the ball as it bobbled and sprinted 95m to score Raiders’ ninth try. McLean maintained his perfect kicking record - 63-3.

To end the scoring Raiders produced the try of the match. A sweeping move saw backs and forwards linking skilfully to give Barnes his fourth try. McLean just failed to convert from the touchline but still had nine to his name.

Referee: Jamie Parr

Attendance: 334

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Scorers: Tries: Perkins, Barnes (4), Forrest, Clarke, Taggart, Sargent, Clare. Cons: McLean (9)

Team: Ethan Clarke 2. Elliott Luke 3. Dan Sargent 19. Fraser Bruce 18. Jamie Ure 6. Jack Lake 7. Liam Perkins – Captain 8. Frank Taggart 9. Will Rigelsford 10. Sam Evans 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Harrison Sims 13. Jack Forrest 14. Tom Bowen 15. Matt McLean. Bench: 16. Tom Hatch 17. Caleb Ashworth 4. Will Hoare 21. Charlie Clare 22. Alex Davies.

Man of the Match: Dan Sargent, presented by Gareth Davies of Dentalbuild Refurbishments Ltd., match sponsors