Raiders u13s come up just short at Chester
Telford's enthusiastic squad finally got their first competitive fixture of 2018 and produced an entertaining, exciting display of rugby that ended with the narrowest of defeats in a game where each team scored 8 tries!
A day after the men's 1st team lost in a similar narrow, high-scoring manner, the Raiders u13s travelled to a Chester Gladiators side who had played a number of North West Counties games this season already.
After a mistake receiving the kick-off gifted the home side an early try, captain Sam responded quickly when he spotted a gap in the defensive line and accelerated past the full-back.
However, Telford let the resulting kick-off bounce & go into touch, giving Chester possession which they turned into a converted try through their powerful forward pack.
Not to be out-done, the Raider's big guys immediately responded, with powerful carries from the likes of Caleb and Tyler and especially James who powered over to make the score 10-8.
Sam scored another long-range effort shortly after, converted by Charlie, and Jake also got over the line with a good supporting run to benefit from an impressive James offload.
Despite a Chester score in reply, the lads took a well-earned half-time drink ahead on the scorebard 14-18.
Shortly after the restart, Sam extended the Raiders' lead with another impressive wide run (converted by James), but the team unfortunately lost dummy-half Archie to a hand injury who had given them good pass service and direction from the play-the-ball.
This disruption let the home side back in to the contest, and with restarts being taken by the conceding team (a rule concession agreed before the game), Telford then had to endure a 15 minute spell where they barely had the ball, defending repeat sets in the searing heat, and Chester scored 5 tries back-to-back to take a seemingly unassailable 40-24 lead.
However, the lads' team spirit really came to the fore, as they rallied, and with Olly ably stepping into the dummy-half position and brave attacking efforts from Aidan, Caleb & Ned and a superb try-saving tackle from full-back Jake, suddenly the Gladiators were the team looking tired.
James powered over and Sam scored from a trademark mazy run, but neither were converted leaving an 8 point deficit with 2 minutes to play.
This was just too much to overturn, as the Raiders got the last try scored and converted by James but ran out of time as the final whistle was blown with the score 40-38 to the home side.
Coaches Alex & Gareth were really impressed with the squad's first outing of the season, and especially at the skill level, willingness to play exciting attacking rugby, and the team spirit shown to endure a tough 2nd half in the sun and so nearly getting that come-back win.
We can't wait for the return leg in Telford!!