CHIPPENHAM head coach Jason Forster believes last Saturday’s thrilling bonus-point win over promotion candidates Redingensians demonstrated just how far the Allington Field club have progressed.

Forster’s men stunned the much-fancied Berkshire outfit 20-14 to make it three wins out of the opening four games in National Three South West this season and have now third in the table.

Chippenham, with a depleted squad, struggled during the early stages of last season before finishing strongly and maintaining that momentum into the new campaign, and former Wales international Forster reckons his men have made big strides forward in the last year.

“After the first month and first four games I’ve got to say I’m extremely proud of the boys for the effort they’ve put in,’’ said the former Newport Gwent Dragons man.

“You have to bear in mind that we don’t pay our players here, they turn up for the love of rugby and Chippenham Rugby Club, and put the effort in for the love of the game.

“The boys have really worked hard in pre-season and Dale (Burn) has come in and added a bit of bite as backs coach.

“The guys who have signed for us (in the summer) have really strengthened our squad. There is competition all around for places and selection is a headache, bearing in mind this time last year, we were really struggling.’’ Two-try winger Christian Novik’s last-gasp tackle to deny Redingensians a probably match-winning score typified the home effort.

Forster said: “We talked before it about pride in Allington Field and pride in our performance against a side that were unbeaten this year.

“We had to work doubly, triply hard in that last three or four-minute period.

“This time last year we probably wouldn’t have defended our line without it being broken so I think we’ve come a long way since then.

“It sends out a good message for what we’re about and teams won’t come down here and get anything lightly.’’