AN UNLIKELY win for Swindon against relegation-threatened rivals Witney on Saturday has done little to move player-coach Adam Westall’s realistic view about the club’s chances of avoiding the drop.

Skipper Mike Thompson’s hat-trick guided Swindon to a 31-19 win in their latest South West One East fixture away in Oxfordshire, but they are still 20 points short of avoiding the drop with only six fixtures remaining.

It means Westall’s troops must win all six of their remaining fixtures to stand a realistic chance of avoiding relegation, while hoping that Chippenham and Trowbridge also drop points in their remaining games.

Accepting the bleak outlook, Westall insists that Saturday’s win serves only as a confidence boost to his side – adding that familiarity in the starting XV helped create some much-needed team cohesion on the pitch.

He said: “From a safety perspective, we are on the brink. To travel there and pick up a win was huge.

“I’ve been at the club for eight years and have never won there, so to come away with a 31-19 result was really pleasing.

“We know that we have to win all of our remaining games and rely on either Chippenham or Trowbridge to lose a couple of times.

“We’re realistic, we’ve left it a little bit too late this season. But our result against Witney has installed some confidence.”

Frustratingly for Westall, his side’s chances of avoiding the drop could have been significantly increased had it not been for a surprise loss against Stratford-upon-Avon the week previous.

Swindon’s performance in that game prompted a change in approach against Witney, with Westall instructing his players to utilise the width of the pitch.

He said: “Stratford were a good side, we just didn’t have the fitness against them.

“We played slightly different against Witney, we played with more width and it seemed to work really well for us.

“We had a lot of joy going forward, and in the second half, they threw the kitchen sink at us and we managed to keep them to just a couple of tries where they definitely could have had a few more.

“Training has been difficult, but we are starting to pick the same side now which is really important.

“The pack – give or take – has been the same for the past three weeks, and it shows with the way we play.”

Elsewhere, Royal Wootton Bassett’s hopes of promotion were hit by a 45-14 loss at Banbury.

Swindon College Old Boys shared a 27-27 draw at home to Thatcham in Southern Counties South, while Supermarine lost 24-12 to Sutton Benger in Dorset & Wilts One North.