WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson said he was “immensely proud” of his players after they lost their top-of-the-table match at Redruth on Saturday.
Dawson was frustrated by the performance of the referee during the match, which ended in a 26-22 defeat, although he feels the heart and desire that his side showed still leaves Raiders in a strong position.
Raiders remain top of National 2 South – seven points clear of second-placed Henley Hawks, who were without a game on Saturday and eight points ahead of Redruth, who have two games in hand.
Hartpury dropped to fourth after they surrendered a 26-point half-time lead and lost 31-29 at home to Canterbury.
Dawson said: “It was very frustrating to lose but we were up against it. We lost Charlie McGowan to illness on Friday evening, which meant Jamie Redmayne went into the second row and I sat on the bench as it was too far to get someone else in.
“The lads did incredibly well. We stayed in the game and I was immensely proud of the performance.
“We got a losing bonus point and it was a great performance and a great display of hearts, guts and team spirit. I’ve got nothing but praise for my players.”
Dawson was not as complimentary about the match referee, though, and said: “We had a run-in with him in the corresponding fixture last season.
“Rugby is a very subjective game and you could give a decision at every break down. You could probably see an offence from either side but we felt that most of the 50-50 calls went their way.
“He made decisions that baffled both sides and, if Worthing never have him as a referee again, I’ll be more than happy. I was very angry after the game but the season isn’t done and dusted yet.”
Full report, more reaction and Worthing’s latest injury blow in this week’s paper.