Raiders denied last-gasp try in defeat at Westcombe Park
ONE point was so close to being five for Guernsey on Saturday.
In the dying moments of a see-saw battle at Westcombe Park, Raiders believed they had touched down over the line for what would have likely been a game-winning fourth try, but the decision went against them and they were only able to return home with a losing bonus point following a 25-19 defeat.
‘It was one of the last plays and Hugo [Culverhouse] “scored” right next to the posts, but the referee was on the other side of the ruck and by the time he got around to have a look, they had thrown their bodies in the way so he said it was held up,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.
‘In fairness, if that try had been given, it would have been more relief than ecstatic celebrations from us because in all honesty we should have been about 30 points ahead by half-time.’
As it was, Raiders trailed by five at the interval.
An early misread in the first couple of minutes saw them concede what Reynolds described as ‘a pretty painful’ opening try to Hugo McPherson.
Guernsey got the upper hand after that initial setback and their pressure finally told with Carter Hackett scoring a pick-and-go try, which was converted by Ciaran McGann, shortly after Todd Bailey had received a yellow card for the hosts.
However, momentum swung back towards Westcombe Park when Raiders received two yellow cards in the space of a minute with Brad Webb and Sam Boyland both sent to the sin bin.
The penalty try for the hosts that resulted from that passage of play gave them a 12-7 half-time lead.
Raiders were still down to 13 when they struck back early in the second half.
After shifting the ball to Ethan Smith, who had one of his best games for Raiders, he chipped ahead and regathered before offloading to the supporting Dan Barnes.
Once he was brought down, Culverhouse was on hand to gather and finish off a terrific move.
‘It might be one of the best tries you will see all season,’ said Reynolds.
McGann added the extras to put Guernsey two points ahead, but the game continued to ebb and flow with that lead lasting nine minutes before Nathan Wyman touched down for an unconverted try for the hosts.
Raiders went ahead once more on the hour mark with the in-form McGann produced a trademark score, carrying through the opposition 10 to get to the line with a strong run.
Four minutes later Wyman kicked a penalty to edge Westcombe Park one point ahead and Toby Wallace then scored the last try of the game with eight minutes remaining.
‘It was a bit of a tough one to grasp and it was frustrating once again for us,’ Reynolds said.
‘You saw one team dominating the other for large parts of the game, but we just could not dominate the scoreboard and that is maybe an indication of where we have been in the last four or five games.’
He added that the points his side conceded were often from a failure to exit properly.
‘It is something that happened last week [against Barnes] and at Dorking, so we have to keep working at that. It’s not panic stations yet, though.
‘There were positives to take – our backline was better and made numerous line-breaks, but we could not convert enough of them – and although we were below par, we still nearly won the game, but at the end of the day we didn’t.’
Raiders are back in action this coming Saturday when Canterbury are the visitors to Footes Lane.