Coulson hopes win can be catalyst for survival push

Harry Forrest goes over for Worthing Raiders on Saturday. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Harry Forrest goes over for Worthing Raiders on Saturday. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing Raiders assistant coach Ben Coulson hopes Saturday’s National League 2 South victory will be a catalyst as they look to mount a survival charge.

Second-from-bottom Raiders ended a ten-game losing streak by bagging a bonus-point 32-28 triumph over fourth-from-bottom Barnstaple at Roundstone Lane.

Finlay Coxon-Smith touches down Raiders third try against Barnstaple. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Finlay Coxon-Smith touches down Raiders third try against Barnstaple. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Heading into the latest round of fixtures six points from safety, Raiders’ win – coupled with bottom side Exmouth overcoming third-from-bottom Barnes – leaves Worthing just three points from safety.

Having brought to an end their winless run, Raiders are now at home in the next two fixtures, with third-placed Old Elthamians and Taunton Titans, in fourth, coming to town.

With a return to winning ways and home comforts, Coulson is hopeful his side can use the win as a platform.

He said: “The guys have just got to have some belief going forward now, I felt we played some phenomenal rugby in the first half. I don’t know if one win is momentum but it has put a block on a run of poor results. We need to pick up in training on Tuesday and Thursday, crack on and try to take some of the good feeling from this win into this Saturday’s game.”

Raiders brought a difficult losing run to an end by defeating Barnstaple. Having led 32-14 with 20 minutes to go, Worthing nearly squandered their advantage before holding on.

After billing it as must-win in advance, Coulson was pleased his side managed to do just that.

He added: “The win was absolutely key, ideally we’d have stopped them getting the bonus points but with a win we closed the gap. We just now need to focus on ourselves and try to get a run together.

“Eventually we got the victory but we made hard work of it. Barnstaple came with exactly what we expected them to bring, we matched it in the first half with our focus, motivation and we were on message. We put ourselves under pressure by giving away some silly penalties and letting a team like Barnstaple in it with a massive forward pack is not what you want.

“It was slightly frustrating watching in the closing stages but this was one of those we had worked so hard towards, it was pleasing to win it in the end.

“The determination that was shown, then the focus after Scott Barlow was sin-binned, we just stuck and kept to it. We had a really positive week leading into the game and everything that happened we reacted positively too.”

Former Worthing player Amy Wilson Hardy was a guest at Roundstone Lane on Saturday.

The 25-year-old, who currently plays for Bristol, was part of the Great Britain Sevens squad that finished fourth at last year’s Rio Olympics.

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