Coulson: Let's continue flying season start

Raiders skipper Liam Perkins leads an attack during Saturday's game at newly-promoted Wimbledon. Picture by Colin Coulson

Worthing Raiders assistant coach Ben Coulson has challenged his players to maintain the momentum built in their opening two games of the National 2 South season.

Raiders, who overcame London Irish Wild Geese on the opening day, followed up that victory by winning 31-15 at newly-promoted Wimbledon on Saturday.

Back-to-back bonus-point victories have left Raiders well placed in fourth position after the first two games of the new campaign.

A major overhaul in the summer saw eight new additions join Worthing and Coulson has been pleased with how everyone has settled in.

He said: “It has been a good start to the season, I’d suggest any one of us would have bitten your hand off for ten points from the first two games.

“Better than expected? Possibly. Better than hoped? No. This is exactly what we have been working towards since the end of June.

Summer signing Matt Walsh feels the force of a tackle against Wimbledon. Picture by Colin Coulson

“There are a number of things we’ve been really pleased with, league points aside. Two try bonus-points is a vast improvement on this time last season. Defensively we’ve not conceded four tries in either match, again a huge positive.”

There was a brief stoppage in the second half during the clash with Wimbledon following a heavy lightning shower.

The delay was a first of its kind for Coulson but he was happy with how his team coped.

He said: “We were held for longer after half-time, then in the second half for the same reason. Coming off for lightning was certainly a first for me but, to their credit, the players managed that period very well.”

Sam Hampson got his first Raiders try on Saturday. Picture by Colin Coulson

Despite such a flying start to the season, Coulson wants expectations to be managed at Roundstone Lane.

Raiders’ assistant coach continued: “The energy and confidence that grows from winning, scoring tries and besting individual opponents is infectious. Players, supporters and club members alike should be buoyed by our performances to date.

“We have a very knowledgeable following at Raider HQ. They’re aware we’re not in a position to be challenging at the top of the league just yet.”

Raiders will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of triumphs to begin the new campaign when they host Redingensians Rams on Saturday.

Coulson is all too aware of the quality they posses and said: “We want to win all of our games with a bonus-point, that is what we’ll be working towards this week.

“Unfortunately, so will Redingensians. They are a strong side with a number of dangerous players. So, from Jody (Levett), James (Arthur) and myself through the off-field team, to the players, we’ll need to be at our best.”

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