CHAIRMAN of rugby Charlie Burt says Tiverton will "give it everything" in their push for promotion – although he considers them outsiders.
Tivvy climbed to fourth place in the Cornwall & Devon League table with a 22-12 defeat of Saltash on Saturday.
That was a fifth win from six matches for the Mid Devon outfit, who have a game in hand on their rivals after Hayle failed to show up last month.
Burt's side face a potentially crucial month as they face the top three sides in the division – Teignmouth, St Ives and Withycombe – on successive weekends.
Two of those matches are at their Coronation Field base, but they travel to the only unbeaten side in the section – second-placed St Ives, who have won all seven matches so far – this weekend.
Burt said: "That was the first team from the top of the league that we have played this season so it was a good tester of how far we have come or how much we have got to do.
"We will learn a lot from these next set of games but I still think it is a big ask for us to go up this year – we are missing players that we could do with.
"St Ives, Teignmouth and Withycombe have got to be the favourites for promotion but we are going to give it everything we have got because on our day we know we can play good rugby and beat teams.
"We're there or thereabouts and if any of the teams start dropping off we'll be there."
Tiverton were relegated from Western Counties West last season after making a dire start to the campaign, when they lost their first 12 matches.
However, new coach Dave Maddick – who joined the club over the summer – has brought in a new regime that sees the players working on their fitness more as well as focusing on the basics and it is paying dividends so far.
Burt felt Saturday's win, secured after tries from Reg Gilbert, Jack Sampson, Max Neusinger and James Morrison, was more comprehensive than the 22-12 score suggested.
"The scoreline doesn't reflect the dominance we had," said Burt.
"We played very well – it was the best we have played all season because the intensity was there from the beginning until the end.
"We've got to be pleased about that. It was the first side from the top half of the table we have played this season and now we've got three more against the top three."
After the trip to St Ives, Tiverton host leaders Teignmouth and third-placed Withycombe on successive Saturdays before the re-arranged match with Hayle.
However, as well as being without front-rower Lewis Whiteway through injury, prop James Morrison is unavailable for the long trip to St Ives.