REDINGENSIANS Rams produced another power-packed display to record an 11th win in 12 games and catapult themselves into National Two South promotion contention following a 39-26 home win against Worthing Raiders, writes Richard Ashton.

Yet despite closing the gap to just nine points on second-placed Chinnor ahead of a titanic showdown between the two sides at Old Bath Road this coming Saturday, head coach Seb Reynolds was left with mixed emotions.

He told the Chronicle: “Worthing came with a very young, ambitious and dangerous side and they showed in getting the bonus point how dangerous they can be, so we’re really pleased with the win.

“We’re perhaps slightly disappointed with the scoreline, but you can’t really take anything away from what Worthing did. We would probably have liked a few more points, but we’ll take it for the first game of 2018.”

The hosts started brightly and took a third-minute lead when flanker Tom Vooght crossed in the corner, Adrian Jarvis unable to add the extras, and moved further in front with another unconverted score from second row Colin Thompson.

The third try arrived in the 15th minute as prop Niall Kidd powered through a couple of tackles before off-loading to Vooght to dive over for his second score. Jarvis again failed to convert, though, leaving the hosts 15-0 to the good.

Worthing hit back following a spell of territory and possession, with wing David McIlwaine going over in the right-hand corner, but Rams replied on the stroke of half time as Olly Foxley dotted down to secure the try bonus-point and make it 20-7.

The early stages of the second half followed a similar pattern as the formidable Rams pack barged over from a rolling maul – hooker Ben Henderson – claiming the glory, and Jarvis finally landed his toughest kick yet from the right-hand touchline.

Yet Worthing were nothing if not resilient and Jack Maslen finished a flowing backs move to cut the deficit again, only for the power of the Rams to bag another try when they pushed the visitors off their own scrum five yards out and Robbie Stapley touched the ball down.

Raiders ran in a third try from Jack Forrest before Henderson showed a sleight of hand not befitting a hooker in order to release Jordan Souter for a beautiful Rams try. Replacement fly half Tom Humberstone converted and Redingensians led 39-17.

With the game safe and the sides having to play uncontested scrums due to a couple of injuries to the visitors, it was Worthing who had the final say. Reduced to 13 men, Rams were unable to defend a scrum five metres from their own line and when the ball was spun out, fly half Matt MacLean had a simple run in to snatch a bonus point for his side in the final play.

Reflecting on another tremendous forwards effort, Reynolds commented: “I’m running out of superlatives for them – they were completely dominant again. It’s a credit to the way they’ve developed under (forwards coach) Owen (Root) on the back of performing well the past couple of years. They’re fantastic.

“One of the things we work on as a club is to develop the skills all-round and have 15 ball players on the park. We have strength up front and we’d be stupid not to use it, but we’re by no means dominated by one area of the game, we want to be able to play in all areas.”

And with his side right in the promotion mix, Reynolds said he was not looking too far ahead, concluding: “We really do take each week as it comes, but we’re really pleased with the way the side has developed and it’s really exciting. I’m so proud of the players.”

Meanwhile, former Harlequins, London Irish and Bristol fly half Jarvis, who retired at the end of last season's Championship-winning season with the latter, admitted he was delighted to have reneged on his idea and agreed to become a player-coach.

He said: "It’s a really nice environment to come into and to come back into rugby having stopped seven or eight months ago.

"The boys are loving it, winning and playing really good rugby has been really nice."

He continued: "I wasn’t particularly looking at playing, but after speaking to Ash Rowden, the idea of a player-coaching role appealed.

"I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy playing because I really had decided it was time to stop, but they managed to persuade me to put the boots on and I’ve really enjoyed it since.

"I hope I can work with the other fly halves – it’s the first time I’ve been a player-coach and it’s quite different."

Jarvis, too, hailed the almighty Rams pack, commenting: "They’re fantastic, whether it’s the scrum, line-out, open play. It’s not just the set piece, they’ve got some real skills there and some really good runners who make good decisions.

"It’s a nice team to come into with the way they play, the ambition of the boys, it’s exciting and it has made me realise I still enjoy it."

And while he will miss this Saturday's promotion clash with Chinnor due to commitments at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School, Bristol, where he is head of rugby, he said: "It’s always great to play top-of-the-table sides and if you’ve got ambitions to go up, they’re the ones you want to win and fight for promotion.

"Hopefully it will draw a nice crowd which would be great for the club and great for the game."