Worthing Raiders back on track – but they leave it late to beat Bury St Edmunds

Worthing Raiders’ 29-22 win at home to Bury St Edmunds was a great advert for National two east rugby with both teams playing highly entertaining and skilful rugby.
Will Rigelsford about to touch down for Worthing Raiders' fifth try against Bury St Edmunds | Picture: Stephen Goodger - see more of Stephen's photos in the link aboveWill Rigelsford about to touch down for Worthing Raiders' fifth try against Bury St Edmunds | Picture: Stephen Goodger - see more of Stephen's photos in the link above
Will Rigelsford about to touch down for Worthing Raiders' fifth try against Bury St Edmunds | Picture: Stephen Goodger - see more of Stephen's photos in the link above

There were some excellent individual performances throughout the Raiders’ squad but the MoM award went to Frank Taggart for his outstanding performance on his return after injury.

It is never nice to lose a close fought game with the last play and it has happened to Raiders more than once in the last few seasons. So it was with great relief for the home crowd that this time it was Raiders who took the win with the last play – and gained another five points to stay in second place in the league.

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This weekend Raiders entertain league leaders Blackheath in a first-versus-second clash at Roundstone Lane.

Support was outstanding and Raiders hope for more of that this week, when they urge fans to bring their friends too.

After a very disappointing game at Canterbury last week, this was the first of three consecutive home games.

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Fxtures between Bury St Edmunds and Raiders have always been exciting, entertaining and skilful.

Raiders were without Sam Evans, Fraser Bruce, Joe Knight and Tom hatch. Replacing them were Zach Carr, Alex Davies, Tom Derrick and Jack Doorey-Palmer – and Taggart returned after injury.

The pitch had recovered from rain and ice to be in a good state for open rugby.

The home side started well and with four minutes on the clock Raiders moved the ball across the back line until Taggart cut a great line and powered his way to the line from 30m out. Matt McLean converted.

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For the next 15 minutes Bury showed what a good side they are with the ball in hand. But Raiders’ defence stayed solid.

The home side scored their second try after 25 minutes. From a scrum just inside the visitors’ half, Taggart picked up, drew the first line of defence and then moved the ball out to the backs.

Curtis Barnes entered the line from the blind side wing and scorched a line through the defence, scoring his 19th try of the season for a 12-0 lead.

Bury received a yellow card for a high tackle and from the penalty Raiders created a good attacking situation but a knock-on relieved the pressure for the visitors.

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Raiders had a scrum 20m from the Bury try line. Alex Davies ignored the backs lined up to the open side and went up the blind side to feed Barnes.

When he was tackled he was able to offload to Taggart, who sped into the corner to touch down for his second try of the afternoon.

McLean was unable to convert but it was 17-0.

In the last few minutes of the half Bury kept Raiders under a lot of pressure but the home side dealt with it very efficiently.

At the break Jackson Clark was replaced by Caleb Ashworth.

From the restart kick Bury made many metres into the home side’s territory and continued to play through the phases, stretching the home defence until they scored their first try, converted to close the gap to 17-7.

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Within five minutes the visitors had scored another converted try to close the lead to 17-14.

After 14 minutes of the half Bury were awarded a penalty 35m from the Raiders’ posts and they chose to take a shot at goal. The kick was successful and with 26 minutes left to play the scores were level at 17-17.

Raiders used their bench to inject fresh legs into the fast, energy sapping game and were rewarded.

Bury were penalised at the lineout and Raiders put the kick into the visitors’ 22 for the lineout.

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With clean possession from the lineout the home side moved the ball through the backs to the opposite touchline and then brought it back to the other touch line enabling Barnes to give a try scoring pass to Taggart who touched down for his third and the team’s bonus-point try – 22-17.

This was not a comfortable lead and Bury came back all guns blazing and scored an unconverted try to bring the score to 22-22.

When Jack Doorey-Palmer received a yellow card it was looking as if Bury might steal the win in the final ten minutes.

The game was evenly poised, both sides playing the kind of rugby any supporter would wish to watch.

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Both sides were still intent on playing an expansive game in order to achieve a win.

Bury ran everything from set-pieces and penalties, testing the home side’s defence to the limit. The Raiders’ defence held firm and they gradually worked their way into the visitors’ territory.

A clever kick ahead by Jack Forrest set up a foot race between Barnes and the last Bury defender to get the touch down. After consultation between the referee and his assistant it was deemed no try and a goal-line drop-out.

Bury, to their credit, attempted to kick the minimum ten metres in order to regain possession and rekindle their attack from deep. Unfortunately, for them the home side were able to thwart their effort and were rewarded with a scrum five metres from the Bury try line.

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With the game in the last minute a tense scrum was set. When Will Rigelsford put the ball in, the scrum was solid and when he collected the ball from the base he sold a dummy and averted a couple of attempted tackles to touch down next to the posts.

Tom Price converted to make it 29-22.

Referee: Phil Russell

Attendance: 519

Scorers: Tries: Taggart (3), Barnes, Rigelsford. Cons: Mclean, Price

Team: Jackson Clark 2. Elliott Luke 3. Dan Sargent 4. Jack Lake 5. Will Hoare 6. Liam Perkins – Captain 7. Zach Carr 8. Frank Taggart 9. Alex Davies 10. Tom Price 11. Curtis Barnes 12. Harrison Sims 13. Tom Derrick 14. Tom Bowen 15. Matt McLean. Bench: 16. Jack Doorey-Palmer 17. Caleb Ashworth 23. Tom Sunray 20. Will Rigelsford 22. Jack Forrest

Man Of the Match: Frank Taggart

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