RUGBY: Worthing captain Jody Levett's weekly column (February 5)

MANY things had changed since we first met Chinnor in the third game of the season back in late September.

Both sides had shown a number of improvements since then and the two team sheets were very different.

There were rumours and mutterings that Chinnor had signed several new players over the Christmas period, including a couple who had been involved in the Varsity match this year. With their previous two results earning them a maximum 10 points, it was clear they were the team in form, which, of course, is why the victory is so pleasing for us as a squad of players and coaches.

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With the league being so incredibly tight, even up to mid-table, where only nine points separate the teams from relegation, we knew a victory could move us up three positions to fourth from bottom.

As with all big games, there is always the risk of becoming too nervous, too aroused, too hyped up, and you lose focus. But it was clear from the start the boys were focused and keyed in to the importance of the match, but perhaps more importantly they were relaxed and extremely positive pre-match.

We have made a real effort recently to focus on enjoyment and to keep the noise levels up, with chat and "banter" during the warm-up and it appears to be working. Players are enjoying training and playing as a squad and that is so important.

The game started well and was competitive from the first whistle, as was to be expected, for the game was as important to them as it was to us. After the early exchanges it was clear we were calmer and more controlled with the game we were trying to play.

This led to a half-time score of 10-3 in our favour. The changing room at half-time was once again a positive place, with everyone wanting to get out for the second half.

In some ways the second half couldn't have started any worse for us, with Chinnor scoring almost straight from the kick-off. However, we knew it had all come from our mistakes and, unlike in previous weeks, we didn't panic and just applied ourselves more effectively.

Again it was great to see our patterns of play working both in attack and defence, where everyone was working hard. The last 20 minutes saw us play some of the best rugby we have done certainly this season and, in parts, for a long time.

We were playing with confidence, direction and passion and were desperate to keep scoring to gain the bonus point which was vital. It was clear that Chinnor were not going to give up and the remaining eight minutes of the game were spent defending.

From our point of view, not to concede a try at the death and to hold out a determined team, was very pleasing and shows the belief as a team we are developing. A final score of 47-13 was an incredibly pleasing result, and we look forward to the next challenge of Barking on February 14.


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