Worthing Raiders hard done by... decisions go against them at Canterbury

Canterbury beat Worthing Raiders 36-33 – but the visitors returned from Kent knowing they should have won this National two east clash.
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There were seven yellow cards in a game played in great spirit between these two sides. It was not in any way the type of game you would expect to have so many cards. However, it had a great bearing on the result for Raiders.

Quite simply Raiders deserved to win. The two points earned in defeat may well be vital later in the season. The spirit and skill shown by the Raiders’ squad was outstanding.

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The visit to seventh-placed Canterbury was only Raiders second game in six weeks due to the festive season and bad weather.

Jack Doorey-Palmer with the ball for Raiders at Canterbury | Picture: Colin CoulsonJack Doorey-Palmer with the ball for Raiders at Canterbury | Picture: Colin Coulson
Jack Doorey-Palmer with the ball for Raiders at Canterbury | Picture: Colin Coulson

The Raiders’ squad was looking stronger with the return of Fraser Bruce, Ben Featherstone, Tom Derrick, Caleb Ashworth and Charlie Clare, although skipper Jack Forrest and Curtis Barnes, among others remained on the injured list.

Raiders played up the slope in the first half. Canterbury kicked off and after 13 minutes took the lead when they kicked a penalty, 3-0. The visitors were playing well and had plenty of possession to work with.

After a break by Featherstone the visitors were awarded a penalty. Louis Ellis put it into touch close to the try line and from the line out they executed a catch and drive leading to skipper Jack Lake touching down. With the conversion missed they now had a two-point lead, 3-5, after 20 minutes.

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The visitors started to rotate players from the bench to maintain the tempo on the field. Featherstone and Fraser Bruce were both replaced midway through the half by Caleb Ashworth and Ethan Clarke.

Tom Bowen on the run at Canterbury | Picture: Colin CoulsonTom Bowen on the run at Canterbury | Picture: Colin Coulson
Tom Bowen on the run at Canterbury | Picture: Colin Coulson

With 24 minutes played and Raiders committed to their handling game, Harrison Sims made a break from 40m out and brushed off several attempted tackles before diving in to score his first try. Tom Derrick converted and the lead was extended to 3-12.

Canterbury received a yellow card after 27 minutes but despite this they were next to score with an unconverted try to close the gap to 8-12. From the restart the visitors regained the ball and some excellent handling and powerful running saw Jack Doorey-Palmer finish off the move from 20m, diving in to score under the posts. Derrick added the extras to stretch the lead to 8-19.

After scoring, Doorey-Palmer had to leave the pitch injured and was replaced by Grant Gatford.

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Raiders received a yellow card after 35 minutes and Dan Macadams went to the sin bin. A poor defensive scrum by Raiders led to the hosts picking up a converted try, closing the gap to 15-19 before the interval.

Raiders restarted the game after the break now playing down the slope. Will Rigelsford had to leave the field injured after taking a hit in the face at a ruck, Charlie Clare replaced him. No punishment was given to the offending player.

Moments later Clarke received a yellow for a technical offence at a scrum. When Canterbury were penalised deep in Raiders’ territory, Louis Ellis put a fifty-metre touch finder down the field and the result was a line out for the visitors on the home sides twenty-two metre line. From the lineout Raiders built a sweeping attack going through several phases before Ashworth hit a great line at pace brushing aside defenders as he ploughed over to score. Derrick converted from wide on the left to extend the lead to 15-26.

Rigelsford returned to the game in place of Harry Forrest. The home side replied with a converted try and quickly followed it with another thus taking the lead for the first time in the game at 29-26, with 14 minutes left to play.

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Featherstone returned to the game replacing Gatford. Will Rawlinson received a yellow card closely followed by another for a Canterbury player.

With five minutes left, Sims scored his second try when the ball was moved up the blindside of a scrum close to the hosts’ try line. Derrick was again successful with the kick and the lead was regained by raiders at 29-33.

In the 80th minute Raiders were defending soundly and looked as if they would come away deservedly with the win. However, in the final minute the referee issued two more yellow cards to the visitors, first Charlie Clare and then Ed Grinsted.

From the penalties that ensued Raiders continued to defend comfortably with only 13 players. But the final decision of the game gave the home side victory.

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A Canterbury player was tackled by the Raiders’ defenders on the goal line and the referee blew his whistle and after consulting his assistant referee 40m from the play awarded a try instead of held up over the line. The conversion completed the scoring and Canterbury had snatched victory with the last play.

Referee: Jack Sutton

Scorers: Tries: Lake, Sims (2), Doorey-Palmer, Ashworth. Cons: Derrick (4)

Raiders: 1. Fraser Bruce 2. Jack Doorey-Palmer 3. Ben Featherstone 4. Jack Lake – captain 5. Dan Macadams 6. Ed Grinsted 7. Joe Knight 8. Frank Taggart

9. Will Rigelsford 10. Louis Ellis 11. Harry Forrest 12. Harrison Sims 13. Tom Derrick 14. Will Rawlinson 15. Tom Bowen. Replacements: 16. Grant Gatford 17. Ethan Clarke 18. Caleb Ashworth 19. Charlie Spencer 20. Charlie Clare.

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