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02 Feb 2020

02/02/2020 1st XV vs Worthing

National Two South

- 01/02/20

Worthing Radiers

29

30

First XV

  • match report
  • league

It’s been a great start! Since the turn of the year Albanians have snaffled no less than 21 of the 25 League points on offer and, this week, leap-frogged Worthing in the Table courtesy of the narrowest of victories. Down on the South coast, the only time OAs got their noses in front was a nano-second before the arbiter’s whistle blew for no side. Purists were heard to say the result was never in doubt; those of a more realistic persuasion knew it was a might more nerve-jangling than that and Raiders fans may feel justified in thinking this was ‘one that got away’! Whatever, we will accept the plaudits with good grace!

Very few plaudits were on offer for most of the first half-hour as an admittedly exciting contest went Worthing’s way in most respects.

Firstly, Albanians employed their tried and tested slow start which their hosts took advantage of in good measure. A defensive lapse left little for fullback Matt McLean to do when he crossed unopposed after eight minutes. He converted his own try. Harry Cavlan got OA’s first points wide out on the right but the difficult conversion attempt came back off the left upright.

The rolling maul has recently worked well for the Albanian pack but here Raiders put their version in gear and Liam Perkins got the touchdown. McLean again improved but his attempt after Worthing forward pressure gave Henry Anscombe the next five-pointer, like at the other end minutes earlier, wobbled the woodwork.

Generally, at this stage, Raiders were making fewer mistakes than were their guests. Tight phases were pleasing home supporters and OAs were obliging with a variety of mishandling errors and perhaps a certain lack of precision which last was to dog the side most of the afternoon.

Then, as half time loomed, A’s seemed to come to grips with matters and improved forward cohesion helped No8 Conor Gracey to the line. Then Cavlan brought the margin down to four points with his collection of Rob Calder’s accurate crossfield kick, a perfect pre-interval score.

The third quarter began as had the first and the visitors’ gifted possession and position. Sloppy lineout practice didn’t help, unless you were wearing Raiders colours and centre Jack Forrest gave his side the bonus point seven minutes in.

So things remained for a quarter of an hour when Albanians staged another mini-revival courtesy of yet another rolling maul, this time Calder touching down for an OA bonus point. Joy was short-lived amongst the travelling supporters, however, when possession was once more spurned and McLean scored his second. Twelve minutes remained!

Cometh the hour, cometh Chris Napier! He and Ashley Illston had been the mainstay of the Albanian forward presence and Napier’s industry was duly rewarded with a typical abrasive charge to the line. The day had not provided a kicking exhibition but that was about to change. Morgan Thompson expertly stroked the conversion to this fifth try and, if things didn’t change, two bonus points would have accrued.

From the restart, a Raiders forward was sin-binned and there was a short interlude while things settled down. Somehow, on the resumption of play, Worthing conceded a penalty, well within range on a normal day. So far not much had seemed normal but Thompson opted for the posts and calmly placed the winning kick. The referee’s whistle blew for the last time!

Brian Quinn ,

Press

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Saturday 01 Feb 20

National Two South

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