KIERON Dawson made a winning start as Worthing Raiders Rugby Club head coach on Saturday with an impressive 28-8 success at Clifton in National League 2 South.
Raiders had lost at Clifton in the previous two years, including 10-9 last year, and Dawson said: “This is a measure of how far we have come and shows the maturity of the side as they all have that extra year’s experience.
“We’re all ambitious to do well this season and it’s a great win.”
Raiders got off to a flying start and were 14-0 ahead in just eight minutes and Dawson said: “We came out of the traps very quickly.
“The boys were very pumped up in the warm-up and we had to bring them down a little as we didn’t want them to peak too early, but it was nice to get off to such a great start.
“There’s still lots to work on and things we can improve on. We missed a few opportunities in the second half when we could have scored another three or four tries.”
Raiders started with the wind behind them and got the opening try after just two minutes. Slick handling from the backs allowed Alex Nielsen to cross the line, with Matt McLean adding the conversion.
Rob Smith got Worthing’s second try six minutes later after a strong and aggressive run, with McLean again adding the extras.
Clifton landed a penalty on 22 minutes to reduce the deficit but Raiders responded just two minutes later when Nielsen broke several tackles to go over, with McLean kicking his third conversion.
Raiders finished the half with 14 men after Charlie McGowan was yellow-carded for a technical offence but, with McGowan back, Worthing soon added to the score in the second half
Mickey Pointing crashed over for the four-try bonus point and McLean’s conversion made it 28-3.
Clifton got their only try on 56 minutes but Worthing always looked dangerous and new signing Kiba Richards made a series of impressive breaks, which kept the Clifton defence scrambling to prevent further Worthing scores.
Raiders entertain Redruth on Saturday and Dawson said: “It’s going to be another tough game. Redruth have a big reputation and have a big set of forwards but we’ll just be taking every game as it comes.
“They’ll be up there at the end of the season and we know it’s going to be a tough game but we have five or six players all back available, so I’ll have a selection headache.”
WORTHING: Pointing, Miles (capt), Webster, Stutchbury, McGowan, Arthur, Redmayne, Smith, Costigan, Dudley, Maslen, McLean, Richards, Briggs, Nielsen. Subs: Hewick, Stubbs, Lanaway, Mills, Luke.
National 2 South results: Barnes 15, Lydney 32; Hertford 29, Henley 45; Old Albanians 31, Launceston 18; Redruth 33, Shelford 10; Richmond 30, Hartpury College 21; Southend 32, Westcombe Park 17; Taunton 19, Dings Crusaders 12.