Barnstaple match is must-win – Coulson

Raiders head coach Jody Levett (left) and assistant coach Ben Coulson. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Raiders head coach Jody Levett (left) and assistant coach Ben Coulson. Picture by Stephen Goodger

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Worthing Raiders assistant coach Ben Coulson says Saturday’s home game with fellow strugglers Barnstaple is must-win.

Worthing crashed to a tenth successive defeat when they lost 52-14 away to high-flying Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday.

Raiders remain second from bottom in National 2 South but are now six points behind Barnstaple, who moved up to fourth from bottom with a 13-6 win against bottom club Exmouth.

Barnes dropped to third from bottom and are also six points ahead of Worthing, after collecting a four-try bonus point in their 36-22 defeat to Redingensians Rams.

The bottom four all meet this weekend as Worthing entertain Barnstaple, while Barnes travel to Exmouth.

Coulson said: “We are under no illusions, this is a must-win game.

“The situation we have put ourselves in demands nothing less than a win and ideally a four-try bonus point.

“If we win on Saturday we remain the drivers of our destiny, control is somewhat maintained. If Saturday goes the other way we will be points adrift and needing favours from other teams, not a great place to be.

“However, the focus this week has firmly been on us, what we can improve upon, how we can be better, not ifs buts and maybes, we’re dealing in the definite.”

Raiders now have three successive home games, with Old Elthamians and Taunton following Barnstaple to Roundstone Lane and Coulson said: “It is imperative that we take this run of home fixtures and get points at each opportunity, we’ve not managed this thus far.

“Positions to win matches are gained then squandered as we’ve stumbled through the final ten minutes.

“Our management and decision-making during these periods remains an area of improvement and challenge for us, it could ultimately be the difference come the conclusion of the season.”

On any points target being set, Coulson said: “One more point than three other teams is the simple answer, however it is difficult to set a realistic target with the unpredictability of some of the season’s results.

“Setting a target also takes the focus from the here and now, the things we can control. Process first, outcome thereafter has to be the approach.

“Get the little things right and the bigger things will follow, to put another way, if you don’t pass your test, you’re not driving, so forget the new car, it’s irrelevant.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s defeat at Bishop’s Stortford, Coulson said: “It was a frustrating day, but lessons were learned and it has given us useful information moving forward. There were some very good moments during the performance, equally there were a number of disappointing periods that were just not good enough at this level.”

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