Sheffield Tigers 18-24 Chester
More cards than Clintons
Chester travelled to Dore Moor, a notoriously difficult place for visiting sides, looking to preserve a 100% record in National 2 North. Sheffield Tigers had made an encouraging start to the season, a narrow loss to Hull Ionians on the opening day followed by impressive wins against Stourbridge and South Leicester. It was with some relief that the team travelled back to Hare Lane with, not only a very satisfying win, but also a try bonus point which may prove significant come the sharp end of the season.
It was not without a struggle and relied on some stout defending in the final ten minutes, defending that led to referee Ben Rayner dishing out cards like it was Christmas. Chester finished the game with 13 men on the pitch, a circumstance they also experienced briefly in the first half. Sheffield also fell on the wrong side of the referees interpretation of the laws, so inconsistency can not be levelled at the officiating. In all, 7 yellow cards were issued, with Sheffield Tigers No8 Frank Wragg the recipient of 2 leading to a red card in the 58th minute. Knowing how the game ended, with Tigers pummelling the Chester line, that dismissal proved very important.
Chester started the game brightly, pressurising from the kick off and a charged down clearance kick was the catalyst leading to Macca Van Sertima’s opening try after 2 minutes. From wide out, Josh Morris
couldn’t land the conversion. Tigers responded almost immediately. Good distribution put winger Mellor in and Mark Ireland nailed the conversion as Tigers snatched the lead which was further extended as he punished a Chester transgression with a penalty. Too many errors from the visitors in the first half plus the ability of Tigers to take advantage saw the teams head to the sheds with the home side having a 5 point lead.
Jan Deventer’s half time team talk was obviously key, as the boys came out with renewed vigour. Chester took advantage of field position and a better organised tight mauling game allowed Mike Craven
to dot down and level the scores. Not to be outdone by his wing partner, left wing Henri Packard raced in on 52 minutes to restore Tigers’ lead before Chester reverted to the tried and trusted rolling maul and replacement hooker Alick Croft
replicated his previous week’s score against Leicester Lions by being in the vanguard as a Chester forward drive ended in a third try. James Robins
, having taken over the kicking duties, added the conversion. Despite being down to 14 men, Sheffield cranked up the pressure. A golden opportunity to score was spurned when the ball wasn’t passed in a 2-on-1 situation, and this would also prove crucial by the end of the game. A penalty was added by Ireland to allow Tigers to retake the lead. This was to be the final scoring act for the home side and it wasn’t enough to keep a determined Chester at bay. Macca van Sertima crossed for his second try in the 67th minute with Robins added the extras extending the Chester lead to a nervy 6 points. The final 10 minutes were nervewracking for the visiting supporters particularly as the sustained pressure led to sin bins for Rik Cottrell
and George Baxter
as all means were employed to keep the Tigers at bay. Tigers couldn’t sustain the composure to find a way through Chester’s committed defence and the full time whistle signalled a continued 100% start to the 2018/19 season.