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The Raiders kicked off with the wind and slope in their favour, Lydney made the ball secure and attempted to work the ball forward but pressure from the visitors led to a mistake and the Raiders took possession. What followed set the pattern of the afternoon. The visitors, whose free scoring attacking rugby had delighted their fans over the previous three weeks spilt pass after pass, gifting their opposition possession and putting themselves under pressure. After 15 minutes one such occurrence forced the scrambling defence to concede a penalty and Wicks slotted the kick for a 3-0 lead to the home side. Two minutes later, another breakdown in attack allowed Lydney to gain good position in the Worthing half and Wicks was set in the pocket for a straightforward drop goal. (6 0)
With the home side growing in confidence The Raiders needed to steady the ship. They began to manage their ball retention and, whilst a couple of promising attacks were halted close to the line by the home defence, on twenty three minutes they put together a series of phases which ultimately released the ball to the left wing and allowed Greg Sullivan to score in the corner. The conversion, from out wide, was missed by Matt McLean. (6 5)
With the score secured, The Raiders produced some good attacking moves but again errors cost them potential scores. Lydney defended well and were effective at sealing their ball at the tackle however the increased pressure led to them conceding a penalty to the right of the posts about forty metres out. With the elements in his favour Matt McLean took the shot, only to see the ball veer late in the wind and strike the left hand upright.
With the home defence holding firm but conceding penalties, the visitors continued to look for an opening and on thirty two minutes they built enough momentum to find the gap, with Jamie Redmayne forcing over to touch down to the left of the posts. McLeans conversion attempt struck the same post as his earlier penalty but The Raiders had the lead which they held to half time. (6 10)
Playing uphill into the wind for the second period, the visitors received the kick and secured possession to move up field. Errors again halted promising attacks and in the forty seventh minute a promising move down the right wing saw the ball spilled, Lydney kick through and collect and winger Hall dot the ball down under the posts to give Wicks a simple conversion. (13 10)
It is said that the measure of a side is that they win even when they play badly. Another measure is that they recognise when they are having a bad day at the office, dig deep and grind out that win. For the next ten minutes Worthing did just that, props Mickey Pointing and Jordan McIntyre were replaced by Pete Cleveland and Joe Burns to provide fresh legs and for their efforts they were rewarded on fifty nine minutes with a penalty, which this time avoided the post. (13 13)
Joe Govett replaced Ollie Luke at fly half and Matt McLean was held just short of the line for a try but errors still dogged the visitors and allowed Lydney to establish good position in their half. At a ruck in front of the posts the ball squirted free, Pete Cleveland moved forward to flick the ball back to supporting players to clear but was adjudged to have come offside. A yellow card and a simple penalty under the posts saw The Raiders 3 points behind and playing with fourteen men for the remainder of the game, time to dig deeper and grind harder. (16 13)
Harry Sloan was replaced by Darren Clayton and Worthing put together a series of attacks which penned their opposition into their own twenty two. Rob Smith figured in the build-up to the score and finally took the ball on again to crash over to put The Raiders back in front. McLean added the extras and the lead was four points with five minutes to go. (16 20)
Down to fourteen men or not, The Raiders were looking for the bonus point try but Lydney had other ideas and after a couple of scares in the dying minutes they were relieved when Mr Maxwell-Keys blew for no side.
Congratulations to Kieran Leeming on his first start and to Scott Barlow for a strong performance on his first outing in a Raiders shirt, particularly for two great catches in the air and excellent work defending the rolling maul on several occasions.
A point dropped? Maybe but take nothing away from Lydney, who were strong in attack and determined in defence. The conditions were made for The Raiders and not many sides will relish a visit to The Severnsiders when the weather and ground are less inviting. Elsewhere Henley scored heavily at Taunton, Hartpury also racked up a good few points at Bournemouth. Shelford came from behind at Launceston, Clifton beat Southend and Redruth defeated Barking. Canterbury secured the narrowest of victories against Chinnor (21 20) whom The Raiders visit next week.
Team: Pointing, Miles, McIntyre, Stutchbury, Barlow, Redmayne, Hewick, Smith, Leeming, Luke, Sullivan, Sloan, Richards, Maslen, McLean. Subs: Cleveland, Whittall, Burns, Govett, Clayton.