Top-two the target for Dawson

Kieron Dawson
Kieron Dawson

WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson is targeting a top-two finish in National 2 South this season.

Raiders finished third last campaign in Dawson’s first season in charge as they ended nine points behind champions Old Albanians and just four points behind second-placed Richmond, who got promoted through the play-offs.

The new season gets underway on Saturday, although Worthing are without a game owing to Rugby Lions being removed from the league.

They were due to be Raiders’ first and last opponents of the season, so Worthing will start the season a week later than everyone else and finish a week earlier – while all of the other teams will also have free weeks during the season, when they were due to play Rugby.

Dawson is planning to use the free week on Saturday to watch some of his side’s rivals in action and, on the upcoming campaign, he said: “We’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish in the top two this season as we’re going for promotion.

“Last year, we got to Christmas at the top and then started to look too much at the end goal of promotion, rather than taking things game by game, and we had a couple of bad defeats.

“We’re a year older now and we’re good enough to get promoted but I expect Hartpury and Henley to both be up there challenging as well.”

Raiders have welcomed back Greg Sullivan, who was at Esher and then Richmond last season, and he has been joined by Jordan McIntyre, a front row who played National 1 at Barking last season, along with Scott Varlow and Billy Toone, both from Chichester.

Players who have left Raiders’ squad from last season include Richard Briggs, Finlay Coxon-Smith, Michael Stubbs and Shane Costigan.

Raiders’ first game of the season is at home to Bournemouth on September 8.