Worthing Raiders facing 'expectation to make strong start'

Sam Boyland forces his way over against Old Redcliffians. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Sam Boyland forces his way over against Old Redcliffians. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing Raiders head coach Jody Levett says his side should relish the weight of expectation being placed on them early in the season.

Raiders got their National 2 South campaign off to a winning start, recording a 27-20 victory over Old Redcliffians at Roundstone Lane on Saturday.
That started a run of three home fixtures in their opening four games of the new season.

Given the way the fixtures have come out, Levett feels there is an expectancy on his side to start well.

And the head coach believes it’s a challenge Raiders should be looking forward to.

He said: “With three home games in the first month, there is certainly an expectation of a strong start and we should be looking forward to that challenge.

“However, the visits of Taunton and Redruth will certainly be a test for us as.

Matt McLean fires over more points for Worthing Raiders. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Matt McLean fires over more points for Worthing Raiders. Picture by Stephen Goodger

“They have both started strongly and will be looking to reverse the results from last year at Rugby Park.

“The return of the injured players over the coming months will certainly strengthen the squad and increase competition for places.”

Raiders were a little slow out of the traps in their season opener.

They had to turn around an early 10-0 deficit and trailed 15-11 at the break.

But tries from Henry Birch and Sam Boyland, along with 17 points from the boot of Matt McLean took them to an opening-day victory.

Levett was impressed with the way Raiders grew in confidence in the win.

He added: “We were a little slow out of the blocks and struggled early on to adjust to their style of play.

“It was pleasing in the second half to control the game more effectively and prevent them from scoring until the death.

“The players showed some real determination in defence especially in the 2nd half, which enabled us to gain in confidence and build pressure when we had the ball.”

Worthing make the trip to newly promoted Bournemouth on Saturday.

It’s a test Levett knows will be tricky as it will be the hosts’ first ever home fixture at National 2 South level.

But the Raiders head coach is hopeful of an improvement in results on the road this season, which he wants to start against Bournemouth.

“It will be Bournemouth’s first home game in National 2 South and they will be looking to start that with a win at home,” Levett added.

“We know they are a big, physical team who are well coached with some experienced players, so we will need to be at our best.

“We will be looking to build on last week positively.

“Obviously, our away form has not been where we would want it to be the last few seasons, although it has improved and it is something we will be working hard to improve on this year.”

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