MATCH REPORT – West Wales Raiders 20 – 82 Newcastle Thunder

Newcastle Thunder began closing down the gap to the Betfred League 1 top five on Sunday afternoon, with a satisfactory 20-82 win over West Wales Raiders.

Rearranged from the opening weekend of the season, Thunder ran in a total of 15 tries on a sunny afternoon in the principality as they moved up into ninth in the competition’s table at the season’s halfway point.

With a heavily congested midfield seeing the teams from fourth to eights all on fourteen points, Thunder will be looking to use finding their attacking straps to close the current four-point gap between themselves and that group.

West Wales started Sunday’s fixture the stronger and ran into a 10-0 lead in the opening minutes, before Thunder re-gathered and hit back with 36 unanswered points in an impressive end to the half.

Having opened their account thanks to a well-worked converted try for Rhys Clarke, Thunder were level through debutant academy product Niall Sidney, who made an unchallenged break from his own half for his first senior try for the club.

Conor Fitzsimmons was the man to take the lead for the visitors as Thunder took full advantage as the Raiders gave away a penalty, before Ben Calland, Frazer Morris, and a brace for Lewis Young gave Thunder a comfortable half-time lead.

The 2017 League 1 young player of the season then secured his hat-trick with another searing break early in the second half, before Liam McAvoy made the most of well-placed grubber and Theerapol Ritson scored straight from the kick off with an unchallenged run.

A third converted try for the Raiders offered some reward to the hosts before Clarke and Fitzsimmons got Thunder back onto the front foot though it was not to be the end of the Raiders scoring as they bagged a fourth four-pointer with 11 minutes to go.

A ruthless finish from Thunder though saw Sidney, Adam Brook and Remy Marginet score a further three tries, as Newcastle secured their highest total in a match this season.

Newcastle Thunder

Theerapol Ritson, Ben Dent, Joe Brown, Lewis Young, Niall Sidney, Remy Marginet, Adam Brook, Conor Fitzsimmons, Evan Simons, Liam McAvoy, Rhys Clarke, Aaron Ollett, Harry Aldous, Ben Pointer, Fraser Morris, Dan Turland, Ben Calland

Try Scorers – Clarke (15, 68) Sidney (22, 76) Fitzsimmons (25, 65) Young (30, 40, 43) Calland (34) Morris (37) McAvoy (46) Ritson (48) Brook (72) Marginet (80)

Goal Scorers  – Marginet 7/7 Brook 4/8

West Wales Raiders

Phil Cowburn, Kurtis Haile, Brad Kingsbury, Luke Williams, Sam Baker, Steve Parry, Karlin Claridge, Morgan Evans, Macauley Harris, Ross Price, Harrison Elliott, Connor Parker, Rowland Kaye, Alan Pope, Dalton Walker, Ellis Simon, Nye Walker

Try Scorers – Baker (7) Parry (11) Elliott (53) Kingsbury (69)

Goal Scorers – Williams 2/4