Raiders captain Miles still eyeing promotion

Matt Miles
Matt Miles
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WORTHING Radiers Rugby Club captain Matt Miles still has promotion in his sights as they look towards the National 2 South run-in.

Raiders are heading into their final nine games, starting with a home clash with promotion rivals Henley Hawks on Saturday, with just one thing on their minds.

The whole league had a free week on Saturday and the Worthing skipper believes it gave them a chance to reflect on their late penalty-try defeat at Dings the previous weekend.,

He is hoping it will act as a wake-up call and provide the spark they need to finish the season strongly, and in the top two.

Miles insisted: “Well, first and foremost we still have a very good chance of promotion and that is our number one aim.

“We have nine games left, that‘s 45 points left to play for so if we can knock it down and get back to the rugby we were playing before Christmas then it really is a possibility.

“Dings was very hard to take. It was a battling game and we had plenty of chances, but just couldn’t put it to bed. There were a number of errors leading up to their penalty try, and the majority of us really didn’t think it should have been a try.

“Maybe that’ll be the motivation we needed to make sure it doesn’t happened again, although the league is the toughest I have known in a long, long time.

“It may have been the wake-up call we needed as we have a very tough run of games coming up.

“It’s not that open, there really is not much in the table. Ok, Richmond have opened up a little gap, but from second to fifth there are not many points in it.

“We are still very confident we can manage it – yes, the mood has taken a little bit of a knock after the Dings result, but the whole club is striving to play at the best level we can.

“We are confident we can perform in the league above, that is where we want to get to and the mood is upbeat.”

Raiders have James Athur and Finlay Coxon-Smith set to return after lengthy lay-offs and with competition for places rife in the side, the Roundstone Lane outfit are in a good place for their remaining fixtures.

After Saturday, Raiders then face Lydney (away), Hartpury, Richmond (away), Barnes, Hertford (away), Tauton, Old Albanians (away), Clifton.

Miles has also hailed the never-say-die attitude of the club, that has meant so many late wins this season, along with the new style of play head coach Kieron Dawson has brought it.

He said: “We all play with our hearts on our sleeves. That is why at five or seven points down with 10 to go we are all confident we can go on and win it, that’s just the attitude we have.

“Kieron has brought a far more relaxed attacking attitude. He likes us playing off the cuff rather than so structured like last year.

“You look at England and how they struggle, then Ireland and Wales – they play in that off-the-cuff style and that is what Kieron has brought, the Irish and Welsh way, it’s refreshing.”

Raiders’ crucial clash with Henley Hawks kicks off at 2pm on Saturday.