The Raiders hosted Sussex Downs at Worthing High School in the semi final of the County Cup today. It was a big paddock and in pretty good order considering the recent weather conditions, which placed it above nearly every other track in the south east of England!
It was always going to be a ding dong battle between the two best state schools in the county and so it proved. The Raiders had much the better of the first half with territory and possession, translating this to the score board with first a converted try and a penalty in answer to the Downs single penalty by the break. Steggles was pulling the strings with Swart moving the ball well and the Fogerty Adu partnership always threatening in the mid field. The pressure being placed on the Downs attack lead to some poor kicking and some impressive running from the Raider back three, Tessier, Mitchell and Clegg all beating the first defender. The big lads were doing plenty of grunt work and the much talked about front row of the visitors was surprised by the challenge they were facing.
Scrum and line out were tightly contested with neither side gaining the upper hand while in the loose Packham and Parkin were punching above their weight, making tackles and challenging on the floor. Hassan continued to carry a heavy ball and the engine room of Dingle and Fowler was well into its work and Bathurst was playing a major role at Hooker. All of this resulted in a 13-3 score board and then after sustained pressure and great building of phases created the moment of the match. Mitchell beat no less than 6 defenders attacking from just inside his own half and went under the horns for the seven pointer. “Get a touch” and “two claps.”
Owing to the attritional nature of the fixture and the superior fitness of the visitors the game started to change and in the last 20mins it was one way traffic. Bodies were battered and bruised everywhere, lungs were bursting and hearts pounding all over the pitch (and on the side lines) as the final 10mins rattled past. The Raiders had spent the lot and nothing remained in the tank. The only pressure exerted was through an excellent attack down the right hand side where Tessier had a try disallowed which he remains convinced he finished. But unfortunately that was all she wrote.
Sussex Downs progressing thorough to the final 31-20.
Tries: Fogerty, Mitchell
Cons: Fogerty 2
Pens: Fogerty 2
Forwards: Liam Lee- great at the set piece, good work at the break down.
Backs: Rob Fogerty- Captains performance, 100% with boot, strong running and a threat all game.