By Brandon Reeves
Huddersfield endured a disappointing afternoon at Lockwood Park and ultimately faced defeat at the hands of a solid and ruthless Chester side by 21-15.
With results elsewhere going in favour of whoever won the match, Field can count this as a missed opportunity, despite getting a bonus losing point and staying third in the table.
Coming against the toughest defence in the league, points were always going to be hard to come by and the hosts had to settle for five penalty kicks from Chris Johnson for their afternoon’s work.
Without being able to muster up a move to unlock Chester, Field were punished for being man short on two occasions when Tom Hodson and Dickie Piper both got sent to the bin.
Chester had to grow into the match after being dominated by Field in the first half an hour.
Chris Johnson’s boot had them nine points to the good with Chester barely entering Huddersfield territory.
But after their first serious threat of scoring down the left-hand side, Chester were given a man advantage when Piper was binned inside his own 22.
Chester took that advantage and rammed it home, literally, when a trio of their forwards drove over from close range for the score. Callum Bennett did the kicking duties to bring them within two points.
Chris Johnson added more points with his boot to give Field a bit of breathing room at the break.
But the visitors came out on a mission, forcing Field back early doors.
Before long they were in the lead after taking the scrum for a walk up to Huddersfield’s line and eventually piling over for a converted try.
This was a wake-up call for Field, but one they ignored as they struggled for decent territory as well as being forced into turnovers, not to mention their poor retention from set-pieces.
Chester were fortunate to catch Field on an off day, but taking nothing away from them, they were the side who carried the constant threat as time wore on.
Tom Hodson copped a visit to the bin after conceding a penalty inside his own 22 after unfairly stopping Chester from getting in for more points.
But it was immediate how Chester took advantage again, this time from the lineout quickly finding its way central, Chester’s full back Tom Foden nipped in between a gap and under the posts fairly easily. Bennett put the icing on it for Chester.
Johnson for Field went on to kick another three points, giving them hope to get a score to win the game but Chester’s resilient rearguard came out on top.
Head Coach Gareth Lewis was understandably disappointed despite the bright start his side made.
“After a controlled first half I expected us to kick on and take the win, but we didn’t capitalise on it.
“Yellow cards for Dickie Piper and Tom Hodson appeared to shift the momentum in Chester’s favour, our line out came under pressure and we made too many errors.
“It’s a tough competition with some good teams but we’ll stick together and come back stronger.”
Lewis’ point about the league is true when you consider that Preston Grasshoppers toppled Hull Ionians 29-7 while Hinckley fell foul of Macclesfield.
Fylde who are up next for Field managed to eke out a win over Wharfedale to leave themselves fifth and just two points behind Huddersfield.
Now that Chester have a five-point gap in second, there is a clutch of sides from Field down to Otley in 7th that could all trade places over the coming weeks before Christmas.