Worthing Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson admits young talent could be key as they look to improve on a difficult National 2 South season next time out.
Kieran Leeming and Elliott Luke were involved in a number of first-team games for Raiders this term, while Patrick White and George Montgomery made their breakthrough as the campaign drew to a close.
Raiders only sealed their National 2 South safety with two games to go following a 32-20 home win over Dorking in what proved to be a tricky season.
Despite bemoaning the lack of experienced heads throughout the season, Dawson believes blooding several young players will aid them next season.
He said: “At the start of the season I was bemoaning the lack of experienced players we had in the team.
“We needed those guys who had been there and done it in this league at times but it allowed younger guys to have a go.
“The likes of Kieran (Leeming) and Elliott (Luke) are Worthing lads who are the future of this team.
“Those two along with Patrick (White) and a few others have performed well in their first real season at this level. They have attracted interest but if we can keep hold of them it will be massive for this club and allow us to continue to improve next season.”
Raiders ended their season with a tight 27-26 home success over Clifton to ensure they ended the season in 11th position.
At first reflection, that looks to be a good finish following a flirt with danger in their run-in but Dawson was disappointed with how it went overall.
He added: “We were pleased to secure survival after running so close but that is not where I want to be.
“With any team I want to be challenging at the top and especially here at Worthing.
“This is going to be an even tougher division next season so to be pushing, or even to stay in this league, we know we will have to be a lot better than this season.”
With Henley Hawks relegated from National 1 and London Irish Wild Geese promoted up into National 2 South it is going to be an even tougher season for Dawson.
He admits that having a number of younger guys in the early stages did not help his side.
But that is something he wants to address going into next season.
Dawson said: “With Henley coming down and London Irish Amateurs being promoted, it’s going to be even tougher than it was this season.
“If you look how close this year was, it could be even closer next year.
“I want to try to get a settled side together for that first league game.
“We were missing a few early on in the season and that didn’t help us. That’s something that I’d like to get right coming into another season but I’m hopeful we will be improved.”
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