Worthing worthy of victory

WORTHING showed just why they are a top-four side as they won the battle of the Raiders 52-21 at Footes Lane on Saturday.

Dan Morgan is about to touch down as Doug Horrocks and Matt Thomas lead a driving maul to the try-line. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30773855)
Dan Morgan is about to touch down as Doug Horrocks and Matt Thomas lead a driving maul to the try-line. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30773855)

While the two teams already share the same nickname, Guernsey were left with something to aspire to in terms of standards with the visitors giving an example of what it takes to be a promotion-hunting side in Naional Two South, particularly in the first half-an-hour when the game was won.

Just one week earlier Jordan Reynolds’ side had shown their fighting quality in coming back from 21 points down at one stage to a good Canterbury side and even taking the lead before earning a draw from that game.

Seven days on, though, when they found themselves trailing by 26 points inside 32 minutes, there was never any question of Worthing surrendering the lead.

If anything, they went off the boil in the second half, but always had it in them to step on the gas as three tries in the last quarter-of-an-hour demonstrated.

It had all started so promisingly for Guernsey when Matt Armstrong, making his 50th appearance for the home side on an afternoon when his brother Anthony led the side onto the pitch to mark his 100th game, a milestone matched by Darrin Bellingham, leapt to claim Owen Thomas’s opening kick off.

Within five minutes, though, elusive Worthing fullback Harrison Sims had put his side ahead with a jinking run that came after centre Jack Forrest had come close to scoring on the crash ball and the visiting Raiders were on their way to a convincing victory.

Somehow fly-half Matthew McClean hit the post with the relatively simple conversion attempt for that opening try, but he quickly banished that minor mistake from his mind and was scoring the second try himself.

A feature of Worthing’s attack all afternoon was the support play for runners who made it over the gainline and it was McClean who was on hand to collect Curits Barnes’ clever chip inside after he had broken clear on the left wing.

McClean added the extras this time, as he did on 24min. after Forrest had got a deserved try from Dan Sargent’s neat offload.

It was a sure sign that it was not going to be Guernsey’s day when, on their first attack of note, Joe Andresen threw a pass to the man outside him only to look up in disbelief and see it was the assistant referee.

Three minutes later the visitors had their four-try bonus point as some wonderful offloading and support play from Sims, Forrest and Barnes led to the latter touching down.

To their credit, Guernsey managed a reply before the break with Sam Steventon barging his way over the line and Owen Thomas converted to narrow the gap at half-time to 19 points, but it was back up to 26 almost immediately after the turnaround as Elliot Quinton made the most of some poor tackling to score.

The hosts then enjoyed their best spell of the match, culminating in Charlie Simmonds stretching to the line and being awarded the try, before the match became scrapping for a 15-minute spell.

In the last quarter-of-an-hour, though, it sprung back to life with Sims getting his second try of the match, Dan Morgan responding from a runaway catch-and-drive maul, McClean notching Worthing’s seventh score which was made by a moment of magic from Forrest and replacement Jonathan Whittall had the final word, much to his delight and that of a sizeable Worthing contingent.

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