RUGBY: Danny’s delight at brighter prospects

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Chippenham's Tom Knight goes on the charge against Barnstaple last weekend Chippenham's Tom Knight goes on the charge against Barnstaple last weekend

HEAD coach Danny Thomas senses an increased hunger in his squad after they achieved back to back wins for the first time this season to significantly boost their survival prospects.

Captain Ian Cook scored the only try as the home side downed Barnstaple at Allington Field to follow up their narrow victory at Avonmouth Old Boys the previous week.

Third-from-bottom Chippenham are now just three points behind Old Patesians, although the Gloucestershire side have two games in hand but with the possibility of three being relegated, Thomas recognises there is still plenty to do.

“It was very pleasing, the boys played well and they defended really well and deserved the win,’’ said the coach.

“We’ve shown a little bit more hunger (in the last two weeks) and I think the players understand where we are in the league and what we need to do to get out of it.

“Collectively, we’re working very hard as a team.’’ The home side's efforts to get the game played despite the recent bad weather leaving pitch conditions difficult were rewarded as they started the game well.

The back row of Bobby Lyons, Cook and man of the match Chris Day led the effort and they took the lead when Barnstaple were penalised and Sam Saunders landed a penalty from 25 metres.

Barnstaple went close when Chippenham fly-half Callum McConnell dived in to prevent a score with the visitors over the line but, despite further home attacks, there were no further first-half scores.

Chippenham drove forward strongly at the start of the second period and skipper Cook touched down for the first try after ploughing through a gap in the defence, Saunders adding the conversion.

McConnell extended the advantage with a drop goal before the home side rung the changes, including the arrival of scrum-half Sam Alford for his first game in 18 months.

Barnstaple eventually broke through after a series of attacks, centre Mike Peek diving over. But the conversion was missed and with Alford marshalling the home side, they daw out time.

Thomas though admits the battle to stay in the division is likely to go to the wire.

“We’ve got all the teams around us to play so we need to pick up at least three or four more results,’’ he added.

“There is still a long way to go and it is going to be very tight.’’

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