WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club continued their perfect start to the season on Saturday when they won for the fourth successive National 2 South match.
They sit in third place, level on points with Henley and just a point behind leaders Richmond, after a 31-13 win over Shelford on Saturday.
Alex Nielsen continued his rich vein of form to move on to six tries for the season, while Joe Burns and Michael Stubbs also touched down as Raiders picked up their third bonus point win from four matches.
Shelford’s James Grabowski touched down to give the visitors a fifth-minute lead on Saturday but Raiders responded quickly and Stubbs drove over two minutes later.
Worthing’s Matt McLean and Shelford’s Harry Owens exchanged penalties, before another McLean penalty gave Raiders a 11-8 lead.
Ben Dudley then kicked across the pitch to Nielsen, who went over, and Burns then touched down, with McLean kicking the extras to make it 23-8 at half-time.
Shelford reduced the deficit through Aki Lea’s try on 51 minutes but Worthing responded with a McLean penalty and a second try from Nielsen to seal the bonus point win.
Raiders coach Kieron Dawson said: “We were a bit worried about them before the game as it’s been a tricky fixture for us in the last couple of seasons, so it’s a good result.
“I was happy with the way we played and happy with the bonus point win.
“There’s a good spirit at the club and everyone has been playing really well. It’s now my job to keep everyone happy, which is a bit of a headache, but exactly the type of headache I want.”
Dawson is prepared to change his team week by week to keep the side as fresh as possible as they have 15 matches without a week off up until Christmas, and said: “We’ve got a strong squad, so will be able to rest players some weeks, so we’ve always got a freshness about us.
“We recruited quite heavily in the summer, so we’ll be able to give some of the senior players a rest some weeks and the younger players are stepping up well.”
Worthing are at Southend, where they have lost in the past two seasons, on Saturday, and Dawson said: “It’s a tricky game but our performances away from home this season have given us confidence.
“We go there as a team high on confidence but wary of what they can do.”
RAIDERS: McLean, Briggs, Richards, Clayton, Nielsen, Dudley, Govett, Miles, Cleveland, Burns, Stutchbury, McGowan, R.Smith, Hewick, Stubbs. Subs: Redmayne, Iraizoz, J.Smith, Metters, Coxon-Smith.