Good ball retention sees Chester home after a solid second half.
Chester shaded a close fought game with a controlled second half performance which saw them retain possession for long spells and cash in on their scoring opportunities. They eventually ran out winners 19 points to 10 to secure their National 2 North double over Huddersfield at Lockwood Park.
Huddersfield made a bright start and were seven points up after five minutes. Having worked the ball through some positive phases fly half Sam Allan made a darting run and forced a penalty. From the line out lock Adam Malthouse marked his one hundredth appearance with a try from the subsequent drive. Joel Hinchliffe converted.
Chester responded well and a fine left wing break took them close. Another by Chester full back Sean Green on twenty minutes saw him held up over the line by a resilient Huddersfield defence. Field did well at the 5 metre scrum that followed when Chester’s blind side attack was forced into touch.
Chester did get on the scoresheet seven minutes later. Although their pack was pressured and pushed backwards at a scrummage the ball came back and was neatly passed inside by scrum half George Baxter with winger Peter Rees rounding off the move with a try close to the posts. Josh Morris took an easy two points to draw level.
Huddersfield finished the half strongly, scrummaging well and threatening. Although Joel Hinchliffe and Richard Piper combined well to make ground good defensive work by the visitors meant that the score remained all square at half time.
Shortly after the re-start Huddersfield lost the services of the highly influential Malthouse through injury. His departure evened up the forward battle to an extent with Chester finding it a little easier to hold their own in tight and loose play.
Field managed to soak up some sustained pressure in the next few minutes and eventually broke out of defence but they were guilty of gifting possession back with some needless kicking.
They did however re-take the lead after a three quarter line break in which Lewis Workman made good yards ended with an accidental offside. Chester were penalised at the resulting scrummage and Hinchliffe took the penalty points.
On the hour Baxter made another of his sniping blind side runs only to be halted by a magnificent try saving tackle by industrious flanker Lewis Bradley. Shortly afterwards Chester did take the lead when Number 8 Guy Ford was driven over for try two. James Preston, taking over kicking duties, added the extras.
Moments later another fine tackle prevented Chester from extending their lead. Workman was the man to make it with flanker Shay Owen the man halted after breaking through Field’s defensive line.
Chester’s final try came with five minutes remaining and robbed the hosts of a losing bonus point. Although a scrummage inside the Huddersfield 22 was driven back by the home pack, Chester’s
ability to pick up and hang on to possession was rewarded with Baxter nipping through for the score. This time Prestons’ conversion attempt came back off the post.
With time running out referee Michael Harris yellow carded Huddersfield’s Francis Entressengle and Chester’s Shay Owen after an altercation between the pair and Huddersfield mounted one final attack. The play advanced from one 22 to the other where the match ended when it finally broke down.
Richard Sykes, Rugby Union Correspondent, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.
Man of the match…
For Huddersfield Lewis Bradley (chosen by Chester President)
For Chester Shay Owen (chosen by match sponsor Bi-Fold Choice)