Chichester satisfied at halfway point - but hard work lies ahead

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CHICHESTER can look back with great satisfaction on the first half of their London one south season – but know they have plenty of hard work ahead of them when the action resumes.

The first team have just passed the halfway mark having played two friendlies and 14 league games. Overall, their early form has been outstanding with three losses – two in the league – a draw and 12 wins, and a very healthy points tally of 599 for and 231 against.

There have been some spectacular big wins, some close-fought victories and a couple of narrow defeats.

It means Chichester sit proudly at the top of London one south but director of rugby Paul Colley said: “While the club are justly proud at this fantastic position, we are acutely aware the slender two-point advantage over Old Elthamians and the close proximity of Guernsey, Basingstoke and Sidcup mean it’s likely the season will run its entire course before final positions are known.

“It’s been a good start but it’s all to play for as virtually every team in the league can, on their day, play to a good standard.

“The fight to avoid relegation involves as many teams as the promotion race. With bonus-point wins, the five points gained can change the league landscape very quickly.

“We’re in only our third season at level six – our highest-ever standard – and progressed from sixth in our inaugural season to a very close third place last term.

“Every season offers new challenges as teams re-group, come up into the league carrying success with them or come down from the next level.

“As to what the rest of the season will hold, only time will tell – but what we know is that the hard work, pride and passion in our performance must be continued if we are to prevail.

“The coaching team must work as hard as the players to keep focus and make training enjoyable while pushing each player to perform to his full potential.

“The key to the next 12 league games, and indeed the Sussex Cup challenge as reigning champions, will be to pull together as a senior club, with the seconds a vital component in first-team success. Without strength in depth no team can hope to withstand the evitable injuries all clubs will endure.”

Chichester’s seconds have carried on the great work of last season with Jimmy Taylor pulling his squad together with a string of solid performances to sit third in the Solent League.

Taylor said: “We’re having a good season but not perhaps finding life as easy as least year, partly because of other teams improving and partly through us dropping our standard a little.

“However it’s all to play for as the play-off process for this league gives the top four the chance to claim the title.

“We’ve had a couple of good cup results also putting us through to the latter stages of the Sussex Bowl, which we won last season.”

The club’s third team have found life in Sussex one a tough challenge, playing many first teams from around Sussex.

But with the addition of a few more experienced players to blend with the younger lads, the season can hopefully turn round.

Colley added: “For a third team to be playing at level nine highlights the strength of this club.”

The first XV return to league action away to Thanet this Saturday.