Dawson wants resurgent Raiders to end season well

Raiders head coach Kieron Dawson
Raiders head coach Kieron Dawson

Worthing Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson is hopeful his side can use Saturday’s National 2 South success over Bishop Stortford as a springboard to finish the season with a flourish.

Raiders produced one of their best displays of the season to clinch a 29-15 home success over their third-placed opponents.

It’s been a testing campaign so far for Dawson’s side and Saturday’s victory was their tenth in 23 league games this season.

The win moved them up one place to eighth in the table as they look to end the season with momentum.

Raiders have welcomed back experienced heads in Rob Smith and Scott Barlow in recent times and Dawson feels these have been major factors for an improving Raiders team.

Now those experienced heads are back the Raiders head coach has every confidence in his side’s abilities to beat every side in the division.

In their final seven games of the season, Worthing still have to play Taunton Titans, Old Albanian and Redruth, who all currently sit in the top five.

But Dawson feels Saturday’s victory coupled with the ability to continue to field a strong side could see them end the season in fine fashion.

He said: “If we keep that team together and get as many of the frontliners out there then I expect wholeheartedly to beat every single team that we play.

“That’s the goal for the remainder of the season now.

“We’ve got a nice mix here now with experience and some younger guys coming through which is good for the club.

“No matter what sport, you’ll hear a coach say you need that mix. We’ve got a great core now with Jordan Gibson, Kieran Leeming, Patrick White and Elliott Luke. They are all young Worthing lads who will be the heartbeat of this club going forward.

“The fact we’ve managed to get Kiba Richards back and performances will only help those younger guys making their way in the game.”

Scott Barlow and Rob Smith were at the heart of Saturday’s success and Dawson feels their returns have helped the side.

The Raiders head coach admitted his side were lacking that experience earlier in the campaign and that led to inconsistency early on.

But now he is delighted with the balance his side has.

He added: “We’ve got Rob Smith and Scott Barlow back and just having those experienced guys in the important times in the game.

“We had so many younger guys in at the start of the season and had few guys with experience at this level.

“It’s great to see those younger guys coming through, but at the same time you need those guys who have been there and done it.

“In pressure situations they don’t panic and it helps those younger guys having them around.”

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