RUGBY: Worthing captain James Arthur's weekly column (April 22)

THE first of our trio of final away games for this season got underway at the weekend with the long trip to south east Cambridge to play Shelford.

We had a hard-fought victory against them when they came to the rugby ground earlier this year and so expected a tough encounter at their ground.

There were a few changes to the side this week, with Greg Sullivan coming into the centres for Chris Meddings and, after I suffered an injury at training on Tuesday night, Ben Maidment came into the forwards at six. Otherwise, the squad remained settled and the confidence we have gained from our good run continued.

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The game itself was a new experience for me. To watch from the sidelines was very frustrating and I can now sympathise with our supporters when things don't go to plan.

We came out of the blocks with a bang and scored two quick tries through Joe Launchbury.

We did create many more chances to score but basic mistakes and, at times, good defence, prevented us from extending our lead.

We then seemed to take our foot off the gas and allowed Shelford back into the game.

We did manage to score another try through Greg Sullivan, but went into half-time 20-19 down.

The second half was a completely different story. We cut out the mistakes and were too powerful and clinical in attack for our opposition.

We ran in five more tries and also prevented Shelford from adding to their points tally, and eventually won 51-20. It was a great result in the end from a tough place to go.

This Sunday also saw our second team play in the Sussex Cup semi-final against Eastbourne's first team.

In an entertaining encounter, the "twos" were victorious 44-5 and now go on to play Hove in the final.

It was pleasing to see some great attacking rugby, with a number of players really pushing their case for a chance in the first team.

It also showed our strength in depth and development of the younger guys.

The final will be played on May 4 at Crawley Rugby Club, with a 7.30pm kick-off. I'm sure the boys would appreciate as much support as possible.

A final word must go to Barking, who have been crowned National 2 South champions after demolishing Lydney 96-14 at the weekend.

Congratulations to them and we wish them all the best in National 1 next year.


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