Slow start costs Worthing Raiders chance of victory at Esher

Raiders’ loss at Esher was one of the most disappointing performances of the season – down to the slow start that ruined any real chance of victory.

Esher 39 Worthing Raiders 19

National two south

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Raiders will end their season with a visit to Guernsey this week and the club will be hoping for a positive finish and an enjoyable weekend.

Worthing Raiders in action at Esher / Picture: Colin Coulson

Worthing’s final home game of the season had to be cancelled the previous week as Westcliff were unable to field a side.

With a few players unavailable the coaches were still able to select 18 of the squad that should have played last week. Joining the squad were Charlie Spencer and Max Ravaudet. Jon Whittall was playing his 150th league game for Raiders and Matt McLean his 290th.

A very large crowd had assembled and the ground was very firm and dusty.

Esher and Raiders do battle / Picture: Colin Coulson

Raiders kicked off into the strong wind and were quickly on the defensive. The first half was a tale of errors and penalties conceded for the visitors.

Esher dominated possession and territory. They used the wind to gain ground and kept the visitors under constant pressure.

Raiders defended well but could not prevent converted tries being scored against them in the second and 12th minutes. The home side kicked two penalties and with a quarter of the game played the lead was 20-0.

Redruth ruin Raiders' day.The remaining three quarters of the match were all square with both sides scoring 19 points.

Having had a very poor first 20 minutes Raiders had settled and conceded no more points before the half time break.

Raiders needed to score next but as the second half began Esher scored another converted try after nine minutes to open the gap to 27-0. Three minutes later they scored another try, converted for 34-0.

Raiders used their bench players but nothing was working for them. In the 19th minute of the half Esher scored again, but couldn’t convert, 39-0.

It wasn’t until the final twenty minutes that the visitors started to play with the pace and skill their supporters were used to.

They scored three tries in 12 minutes through Dan Sargent, Jack Forrest and skipper Kemp Price. Matt McLean converted the first two of these, 39-19.

The visitors tried hard for a fourth try to earn a bonus point but it was not to be.

Esher need two points to become National two south champions.