Preparations begin after Raiders' fixture release

Joe Watson-Brooks has departed Worthing Raiders after being handed a teaching role in Switzerland. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Joe Watson-Brooks has departed Worthing Raiders after being handed a teaching role in Switzerland. Picture by Stephen Goodger
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The countdown is now underway for Worthing Raiders Rugby Club after discovering their fixtures ahead of the new season earlier this month.

Raiders, who avoided National 2 South relegation on a tense final day last season, have found out who they will be playing in the 2017/18 campaign.

The new campaign will get underway with a home game against London Irish Wild Geese on Saturday, September 2, before a first-ever trip to Wimbledon the following week.

Another new side in National 2 South for the upcoming campaign is Broadstreet.

Raiders will welcome them to Roundstone Lane on November 11, then the return fixture is scheduled to take place on March 10.

Worthing Raiders' high performance manager Ian Davies, who formed a new-look coaching team last season along with head coach Jody Levett and assistant coach Ben Coulson, insists the fixtures have thrown up a great deal of variety and said: “It’s always nice to start any new season with a home match.

“A trip to Wimbledon for our first away game of the season could be a double-edged sword.

“We will be their first home match, so I’m sure they’ll be targeting a big crowd to witness their home debut at this level.

“On the flip side, playing them early on means they may not be up to speed with National 2 rugby and hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage.”

Another new challenge for Raiders this season will be two meetings with Broadstreet.

After winning the National League 3 Midlands division last term, the Warwickshire-based side will be playing at National 2 standard for the first time.

Davies sees it as another trip to look forward to: “It’s a new team for Worthing to face. It will be a bit of a trek away but it provides both players and supporters a new place to visit.

“It is always nice to have variety in the fixtures.”

Raiders have lost two of last season’s squad already this summer.

Stalwart Rob Smith has retired owing to injuries affecting his work life, while Joe Watson-Brooks has landed a teaching job in Switzerland - meaning he will no longer be able to play for Raiders.

Davies revealed Raiders are seeking fresh blood for the new season, but no new signings have yet been confirmed.

“There are murmurings of guys leaving and others coming in - there is every season at every level.” Davies added

“Until players have physically turned up and the ink on the documents are dry, we have signed no-one.

“Also, the club will inform members and sponsors before announcing anything publicly.”

Raiders officially return for pre-season training on Tuesday, June 27.

Worthing’s full list of fixtures for the upcoming season are available at worthingrfc.co.uk