Chester 27-22 Stourbridge
Chester do enough
Chester RUFC 27-22 Stourbridge RUFC
Chester entertained Stourbridge RUFC at Hare Lane on Saturday eager to put the previous week’s last minute defeat behind them.
Just like last week the game was in the balance until the final knockings and it was the home side who prevailed much to the joy of the Hare Lane faithful. Chester are now unbeaten at home since December 2017.
Fired up by last week’s disappointment Chester came out of the sheds with all guns blazing and threatened to blow Stourbridge away. The pack had been reshuffled with Kyle Joseph moving up the second row and Andy Baston appearing in the back row whilst also providing front row cover. Stourbridge had the experienced and dangerous Rickie Aley at fly half, working behind a big and powerful pack.
Within a quarter of an hour Chester were two tries to the good. Craig Ross scampered over in the 4th minute, followed by some quick thinking from scrum half Josh Morris to score from a tapped penalty. James Robbins was able to convert one of the scores.
Aley got Stourbridge on the board from a well struck penalty but the visitors cause wasn’t helped when he left the field with a shoulder injury. Further injuries in the game to No8 Sam Montieri and hooker Jack Lea also hampered the Stourton Park side.
More quick play from a penalty saw James Robbins score Chester’s third try on the half hour. The try scorer also added the conversion. At 19-3 at half time the home crowd had every reason to believe Jan Deventer’s men would go on and win handsomely.
No-one, however, informed Stourbridge of the script. Perhaps the scoreboard position freed up the side to play with no fear but, whatever it was, the visitors backs showed that they also enjoy quick rugby on the AGP. Stourbridge also have the facility installed at their ground. All the backs were involved in a sweeping movement resulting in great field position and replacement hooker Sam Wilkes crashed over close to the posts. Chris Scott added the conversion.
Winger Reece Beddows then lit up the cold afternoon with a great finish in the corner after a pacey run from 35m out.
Robbins halted the scoring sequence to stretch Chester’s lead once again, with a penalty, but Stourbridge responded in style. Left winger Dan Rundle, not to be outdone by his colleague, chipped ahead and outpaced the cover defence to gather athletically and score. Scott’s conversion in the 63rd minute levelled the score. 19-3 had become 22 all, the scoring an exact reverse of the first half.
Seasons past and Chester would have lost this match. There is however an ever-emerging steel in this team which bodes well for the future. Young players with, seemingly, no fear have been drafted into the side and it was a break from young replacement scrum-half Harry Craven that allowed Matt Van Sertima, coming back from injury, to score Chester’s bonus point try in the 72nd minute. This was to be the crucial score as good game management allowed the home side to repel attempts from Stourbridge to steal the points.
Although Chester were never behind in this match, there were occasions during the second half when it appeared the game may slip away. It is testament to all the players that they didn’t panic, continued to do that which had served them well and come out victorious.