IT DID not start well, but it soon got a whole lot better.
After 80 minutes at a ground where Raiders have often suffered, they dished out a bit of a hammering to the home side.
Anthony Armstrong ran in for a hat-trick of tries as the Raiders touched down seven times and grabbed themselves an opening day bonus point.
This despite handicapping themselves with three ‘yellows’ including one spell which took us down to 13.
No wonder, then, that Jordan Reynolds was ‘reasonably’ happy with his new team’s start at a ground where the Guernsey side have always had it tough.
‘But we probably left four or five tries out there due to knock-ons and there is room for improvement,’he said later.
Dorking opened with the wind behind their backs and the slope to their advantage also charged out of the blocks to force the Raiders back towards their own 22.
Within five minutes Raiders Matt Thomas picked up a yellow card and with a penalty converted by Matt Noble the home side were 3-0 up.
But Raiders soon powered their way back into the game with the forwards and backs applying pressure into the home side territory. Only a few forced errors kept the Raiders from scoring. Eventually Dorking succumbed when conceding a penalty.
The green and whites’ catch and drive for the line resulted in Anthony Armstrong driving his way over the line, the score converted by Joe Andresen.
Straight from the re-start the Raiders forwards secured the ball releasing the ever impressive Anthony Armstrong who glided out of his own 22 to score the try of the day, his speed leaving the Dorking defence in his wake.
The home side soon struck back with a try of their own which was converted by Noble.
Raiders responded quickly.
A strong catch and drive from a lineout sent Andresen free to score under the posts which he duly converted for a 19-10 lead. Straight from the re-start Asher Veatmatahau broke through the Dorking defence, shipped the ball to the industrious Jake O’Connor who stretched his legs and won the race for another try, converted by Andresen.
Raiders continued to force the pace and ended the first half with controlled phases of play resulting with Andresen chipping through behind the home defence for Matt Armstrong to win the chase and score in the corner.
Although Andresen missed the conversion Raiders were sitting pretty at 31-10.
With the wind and slope now in their favour the second half start for the Raiders fell well short of what was expected of them.
Straight from the kick off Naki Veamatahau received a yellow card for a clumsy tackle on the receiver and this was soon followed with another yellow card, this Jake O’Connor’s rush of blood to the head sending Raiders down to 13.
Dorking pounded the Raiders defence but what looked a certain home team try was intercepted by Anthony Armstrong, who from his own try line ran the full length to complete his hat-trick, a score converted by Andresen.
Eventually, with their numerical advantage, Dorking did manage to score right in the corner, but the difficult conversion was missed.
Back up to 15 men Raiders’ temporary poor retention and loose passing continued to falter their own game plan.
Dorking capitalised with a fine break from their fly-half Matt Noble who slipped a pass and poor tackling from the Raiders defence allowed the winger to go over for a try. Again, the conversion was missed and Raiders stayed 18 in front.
Thankfully, Raiders regrouped and played with control for the rest of the game.
A yellow card for Dorking provided the green and whites with another chance to apply the pressure and when a clearance kick from the Dorking defence went straight to Matt Armstrong he sent in Douglas Horrocks for a try in the corner. The conversion was missed but we were home and dry.
Back at Footes Lane, the Vikings were beaten 48-24 in their first ever game at Zoo Sports Shield Division Two level.
As for the ladies, they fielded six debutants in a narrow defeat at Havant on Sunday.
More details on that game to follow.