WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson is not worried about facing life on the road in a hectic start to their 2013-14 National 1 campaign.
Raiders will kick-off their debut season in the National League on Saturday, September 7, with a 582-mile round trip to Wharfedale – the first of four away matches in their opening six games.
But Dawson believes it is as-good-a-time as any, if not the best time, to get some of the furthest trips up north under their belts with early-season conditions on their side.
It will also give Dawson and his coaching team a clear indication of how Raiders’ season – at the highest level they have ever played – could pan out.
He said: “I’m delighted with the way the fixtures have fallen. It’s nice to get some big ones out the way and we’ll know where we lie after four or five games.
“I suppose, in one way, it is good to get games like that, against strong teams and three long away trips out of the way, when the ground is hard and pitches flat first of all.
“In some ways, the RFU, in its wisdom, has not been kind to Worthing, but it may play into our hands as we want to beat those teams and it’s the right time to try to do it.
“It’s pretty exciting when looking at the fixtures with big clubs like Wharfedale and Blackheath in the first few games, especially the second week at home, hopefully, we’ll have a big crowd for that.
“We’d rather do the long away trips in September than January. We know what we have to do, so in some ways it is the best way, getting them out the way first.”
Raiders’ first home game is the second weekend of the season when they host Blackheath at Roundstone Lane.
December 28, February 22, March 15 and April 19 have currently been reserved as free weekends, while Worthing are set to finish their season at home to opening-day opponents Wharfedale on April 26.
Some fixtures have already jumped out at Dawson and Raiders will be renewing some old rivalries, as well as embarking on some new ones.
On what ones he was looking forward to most, the former Ireland international said: “The London teams Rosslyn Park, Blackheath and that have a big history and then there are those that have been at the top of the game such as Coventry, as well as the teams up north, and Richmond and others which are steeped in history, compared to a smaller club like Worthing.”