THE chairman of Chard Rugby Club said support from the town will be crucial to help it survive against some of the country’s elite teams next season.

The club secured promotion to National League Three South-West for the first time in its history after beating Towcestrians last week.

Mick Duffy said he was delighted with the promotion but said the club faced its toughest season yet on and off the field.

He said: “Financially, it’s going to be a hard one and we need a bigger audience. Hopefully, we can get more away supporters as well – it’s like the equivalent of a non-league football team reaching the Conference.

We were capable of getting into a national league but it’s a shock knowing that we’ve made it. We usually get a couple of hundred fans at most, depending on the weather. We took around 60 fans with us to the game on Saturday to Towcester and they make up about 90 of the regular fans we get at home matches”

Fans will be celebrating but Mick knows much is to be done with few assets to help the club build for next year.

He said: “I think the key thing for us is to build on our infrastructure. The game originates from a very male-dominated sport in this area and we’re looking to build on making the facilities better and more of a family theme. We’re hoping the recent success will draw in more sponsorship to fund the club.

“We can’t compete with the local Wetherspoon’s as a social club bar or serving food and we need to find out what grants we can get from the RFU.”