National 2 South
Worthing Raiders 36, Taunton Titans 33

THIS was an enthralling game with the home side hanging on at the end to earn a well-deserved victory, writes Keith Brooking.

The Raiders were outscored five tries to four but had the benefit of some Taunton indiscipline and the boot of fly-half Matt McLean to thank for the win.

The game started brightly, with the Titans held up over the line, but on Worthing’s first attack centre Ben Loosmore cut a great line to go in under the posts with four minutes played, McLean adding the simple extras.

The Titans then went through the phases and produced a 10th-minute try for back row Dan Frost, with Gary Kingdom kicking the conversion to tie the game.

The rest of the half belonged to the home side as Taunton started to give away penalties, as well as conceding ground with some non-existent defence.

The first to take advantage was winger Kariym Irving who crossed on 18 minutes, and although McLean missed the conversion from out wide, he made amends 10 minutes later with a penalty.

He then converted a 33rd-minute try from prop Dan Sargent, who seemed to run in from the 22 without a hand put on him.

And McLean kicked another penalty to make the half-time score 25-7.

Taunton needed to produce a different second-half performance if they wanted to get anything out of the game, which they did – though it was the home side who scored first, McLean kicking a drop goal after just three minutes of the second period.

With Worthing now defending for long periods as Taunton remembered how to look after the ball, the home side started to look tired, and Frost scored his second try on the hour mark, with Kingdom converting.

This was followed, eight minutes later by a try for Titans number 8 Sam Prior, with the extras added by Kingdom once again.

But the Titans then committed suicide on 71 minutes by trying to run the ball out from the try-line, a big pass intercepted and Raiders full-back Harry Forest eventually crossing.

McLean missed the conversion but kicked a penalty to give the Raiders a 15-point lead with just two minutes left on the clock.

In that time the Titans threw everything at Worthing and scored two tries, one through hooker Jon Gatford and Prior getting his second.

Frost took a cheeky drop goal conversion to save time, and the score was 36-33, with the kick-off the last play of the game.

The Titans tried to make their way up the pitch but were turned over for the Raiders to gain the important victory and the five points.

Worthing Raiders: Forrest, Coxon-Smith, Richards, Loosmore, Irving, McLean, Leeming, Storer, Watson, Sargent, Barlow, Lake, Lamb, Hewick, Perkins. Replacements: Harris, Finney, Whittall, Boyland, Dobson.

Taunton Titans: Kingdom, Massy-Birch, Mason (capt), Popham, Fraser, East, Webb, Chase, Spurdle, Claydon, Persey, Lonsdale, Gibbs, Frost, Prior. Replacements: Gatford, Tribble, Lugg, Harbison, Siddle.

Referee: Mr Callum Howard

Attendance: 423