Exeter Chiefs loanee Patrick Schickerling was again on the scoresheet for Raiders but predictably it proved another tough afternoon for Jordan Reynolds’ injury ravaged side in front of another big house at Footes Lane.
TJs with their morale sky high after that brilliant win over league leaders Rams the previous week flew out of the proverbial blocks, to the extent that they had their four-try bonus point in the bag by half time.
First half tries from Duncan Tout and three from Charlie Edwards suggested maybe there wasn't that much to worry TJs and with Will Robinson converting them all a 5-28 half time lead suggested the result could only go one way.
The visitors were three converted tries to the good in no time, but George Shannon reminded them that there was still a game to be won, scoring the first of Raiders’ three scores on a still and misty afternoon.
In the second half the home crowd raised their voices to celebrate a catch and drive try from their new man, Schickerling.
Fly-half Owen Thomas converted and as the Raiders dominated the half, Shannon dived over for his second.
Surely, the Raiders could not pull off a dramatic turnaround win in the remaining 10 minutes?
The answer was unfortunately, no.
A mistake by the home side resulted in a fifth converted try by the red, white and blues’ excellent kicker and fly half Will Robinson.
Despite the result huge credit must go to our boys for rolling up their sleeves, standing up to their high-flying rivals and threatening a miraculous comeback.
The coach was proud of the overall effort and said that the strategy of wanting to make sure the bench could provide an impact worked a treat.
‘Pat [Schickerling] came off the bench made a huge impact, Tommy Rae [Ceillam] had an absolute stormer for us in the second half, which was fantastic.
‘Matty T [Thomas] came on and did well for us as well and [Matt] Creber came on and had one of his best 10-15 minutes for us,’ he told the Press rugby correspondent, Gareth Le Prevost.
It was the arrival of Ceillam for his 250th league appearance who sparked the post-interval revival and the home team spent the latter stages searching for the fourth try that would have earned them a bonus points.
It was such a shame that they were caught out with that final sucker punch, delivered by winger Rob White, right at the death.
This weekend the team have a well deserved free week.
Raiders: Steventon, Baron, L. Batiste, Webb, Merrien, Shannon, Rice, Horrocks, Teasdale, O. Thomas, Aremu, Campbell, J. Batiste, Ahne, Armstrong. Replacements: Schickerling, Ceillam, M. Thomas, Creber, Quate.
Tonbridge Juddians: Hayes, Jackson, O’Sullivan, Jurevicus, Irvine, Ashmore, Sullivan, Colderick, Edwards, Robinson, Galbraith Lowe, Coxon Smith, Tout, White, May. Replacements: Chapman, Nicoll, Stanford, Whitmarsh, Varney.