The cap fits for Matt as Raiders prepare for next season

Matt Miles

Matt Miles

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MATT Miles will again captain Worthing Raiders Rugby Club next season and the Roundstone Lane outfit are already busy with preparations for the new campaign.

Raiders have already been in talks with a number of players as they hope to add more strength and depth for a National 2 South title charge next season.

Miles skippered the side to their highest-ever finish in the National League last season, which, despite exceeding everyone’s initial expectations, ended in disappointment as they missed out on the promotion places, finishing third in National 2 South.

A number of the club’s players have already signalled their intent of promotion and a title challenge in the upcoming campaign and head coach Kieron Dawson and his management team have been working to add extra faces to their squad.

They have lost only one of last season’s players as Finlay Coxon-Smith has taken up a scholarship offer at Newcastle University, while they have fought off interest from other clubs to keep Charlie McGowan and Kiba Richards.

Miles will be leading the side out for a second season and he said: “It’s a huge privilege again after a very successful season last year. There are a number of players that could step up to do the job the same as me.

“We have said it before that we have 15 leaders on the pitch, although I am lucky enough to have a tag next to my name.

“Because we were so successful last season we have had a lot of interest from lots of players. Championship and Premiership teams would have seen our success and that helps with players wanting to come on loan and want to join us.”

Miles has now turned his attention to the upcoming campaign and said: “Pre-season was always fun as a youngster but it’s got a lot harder as I’ve got older.

“But I’m looking forward to it and seeing all the boys again for what, hopefully, will again be the most successful year in the club’s history.”

Dawson hailed Miles’ captaincy abilities and said: “He did a great job last year and the camaraderie with the rest of the squad was very balanced, he’s been superb.”

He continued: “The Worthing sevens were very successful, we had a chat with a lot of guys and a few we are hoping will come along to pre-season, so we’re hoping for big numbers.

“It’s looking up, we’re awaiting confirmation but maybe we’ll have a couple of Harlequins players on loan. It’ll be great to get a couple of them in. It’ll be a boost for the squad, there aren’t too many positions we’re light in so everyone will have to work hard for a place.

“We have had lots of chats with other guys as well and some are waiting to see if they get other offers and things.”

Raiders start their official pre-season training on July 3, ahead of friendly games at Westcombe Park on August 18 and at home to Rosslyn Park on August 25.