Relief for Levett after losing run is ended

Jody Levett hopes his Worthing Raiders squad can build from the '˜stepping stone' they have given themselves by beating Tonbridge Juddians on Saturday.

Matt Walsh scored one of Raiders' two tries as they ended a run of six straight defeats on Saturday. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Matt Walsh scored one of Raiders' two tries as they ended a run of six straight defeats on Saturday. Picture by Stephen Goodger

First half tries from Sam Boyland and Matt Walsh, along with two late penalties from Matt McLean, saw Raiders surge back late on to earn a hard-fought 23-19 National 2 South victory at Roundstone Lane.

Worthing went into the game on the back of six consecutive defeats and, although Levett felt the performance was a long way from what they can produce, he spoke of his relief after a first win in seven was secured.

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“I think the old adage of a win is a win applies to this one.” Levett said. “We were six losses on the bounce coming into this one, despite the fact that we’d played six of the top-seven in that run. It was always going to be a difficult period looking at the fixtures.

Two late penalties from Matt McLean saw Raiders seal a fightback win over Tonbridge Juddians. Picture by Stephen Goodger

“I think mentally we were not at the races and it was a really poor performance if we are honest, but a win is what we wanted, which we’ve come away with, so we have got to be happy.

“The guys know we did not perform where we needed to perform, we didn’t do as we needed to do but it’s a win and we will certainly take it.”

On the back of positive performances against promotion hopefuls Bury St Edmunds and Cinderford in their previous two matches, Raiders were staring at having to settle for losing bonus-points once again. Trailing 19-17 with less than ten minutes to play, McLean stepped up and kicked over two late penalties as Worthing turned things around to win 23-19.

After admitting his side were way below-par, Raiders head coach Levett took a huge positive from the fact they managed to win.

He said: “I think we were a little bit slack in a lot of areas. Them (Tonbridge Juddians) scoring first showed that we were not mentally there. To do what we did picking up two bonus-points last week, another two the week before and then the four we gain from this victory are all positives. Eight points from three games is not something we are going to sniff at. It’s a bit like Manchester United, if you can play as poorly as we did and still win there are positives to take.”

Raiders now have what looks a more favourable run of fixtures heading into Christmas.

A trip to seventh-placed Canterbury on Saturday is followed by games against Clifton, Old Redcliffians and Henley Hawks, all teams currently outside the top-seven.

However, Levett was quick to point out the struggle against Tonbridge showed how tough any game in National 2 South is and said: “The Tonbridge game shows there are no easy matches in this league, which we knew already, We just need to do what we do well.”