Huddersfield 15-21 Chester
Some would say that a trip to Huddersfield RUFC would not be the ideal challenge a week after giving up a 12 month unbeaten home record.
This Chester side however appear to be made of much sterner stuff. Dispatching one of their promotion rivals by 3 tries to none away from home will send out another strong message to other teams in National 2 North.
With league leaders Hull Ionians losing heavily, and surprisingly, to Preston Grasshoppers, Chester’s win over, the now 3rd placed, Huddersfield allowed the Hare Lane side to consolidate second place in the league as we approach the critical festive period.
In truth, after 20 mins you’d have been hard pushed to pick Chester as the winning team. Huddersfield kept Jan Deventer’s men camped in their own half but critically couldn’t cross the whitewash as the meanest defence in the league lived up to its reputation. Fierce close quarter defence and rapid line speed ensured Huddersfield’s attacks were kept at arms length.
All the home side could show from their field domination was 3 penalties kicked by fly half Chris Johnson.
Chester’s first opportunity to attack into their opponents 22 came after 27 minutes resulting in a double dividend. First influential home No8 Dickie Piper was yellow carded for slowing quick ball down and from the resulting play hooker Alick Croft
crashed over. Callum Bennett
added the conversion.
Chester now began to dominate forcing an increasingly edgy home team into errors and disrupting their set piece possession, in particularly at lineout time. Once again, clever rotation of the front row assured that Chester always had an edge in the tight also. Scoring in the first half was completed with a fourth Johnson penalty ensuring Huddersfield held a nervy 5 point advantage at half time.
The second half belonged to the visitors. Whatever Huddersfield tried, Chester’s tenacity and bite in the tackle ensured it was in vain. When opportunities arose Colin Campbell and his pack were ruthless. In the 49th minute Chester’s eight marched the Huddersfield pack backwards and Guy Ford
crashed over to level the scores. Bennett’s conversion edged Chester into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
As tiredness crept in, gaps appeared and on 57 minutes the evergreen Tom Foden
ghosted through midfield to score under the posts. This followed a second yellow card for Huddersfield with full back Tom Hodson incurring the wrath of the referee. Bennett extended Chester’s lead to nine points.
The rest of the game was seen out with little alarm, with Huddersfield taking a late penalty to ensure a losing bonus point as a consolation.