Chester had a early start to catch the coach up to Dalton in Furness in the NWC Shield on Saturday 19th March. Down on numbers they travelled with just one substitute and face a very strong Cumbrian side for the first time.
From the Kick off Chester knocked on for the second week running gifting Dalton possession on the 10 metre line, Dalton's forwards charged at the line but was met by resolute defence forcing them to ship the ball wide on the 4th tackle and scored in the corner to open the scoring.
Chester kicked deep and this time Dalton knocked on from the kick off gifting Chester the ball but a knock on 5 metres from the line meant the ball was handed back to Dalton who completed their set and kicked deep on the last tackle to relieve some pressure. Both teams were struggling with controlling the ball and the first half was peppered with errors from both sides. Some powerful running from Liam Walker, Dylan Yearsley and Henry Jones was Chester deep into the Dalton half befor Liam Walker got himself over the line but was deemed to be held up by the referee. On the 5th tackle a superb kick by Joe Wilcock to the corner saw an error by the Dalton winger but the ball bounced into touch away from the oncoming Chester players meaning a repeat set instead of a try.
Chester was met by some very strong tackling and turning the ball over on the 5th tackle a metre from the try line, Chester were now defending at speed and Luke Johnson was chasing down everything from marker meaning Dalton struggled to get to their 20 before another turn over of sets deep in the Dalton half. On Daltons next set a crunching tackle from Joe Wilcock forced a knock on and Alex Woodbury was unfortunate to have a try dissallowed for a double movement.
Dalton then worked the ball really well to find space on their left edge before working the ball well to score with a minute to go in the half making the half time score 10-0.
Chester kicked deep from kick off and a knock on gave Chester the ball, Alex and Joe working well in the halves saw Chester go deep into Dalton territory again before Liam Walker picked up the ball at dummy half and managed to scoot over for a try with Alex adding the extras to make the score 10-6.
The second half saw some great rugby from both teams and the game sped along at amazing speed with Hal Buick and Lewis Ruffell working well on Chester's left edge and coing close to scoring before Dalton's defence managed to stop them. Next up Taylor Thorp and Carter Foster on the right edge were unlucky that Taylor did not sneak in for a try being held up just short of the line.
The tiring Chester side started to pick up knocks across the team and that started to impact the team due to the lack of substitutes but every player dug in deep with Ben Calvert and Harry King-Magee making multiple tackles in the middle against much bigger players from Dalton's mobile pack. Harry Macmillan made a break with 10 minutes to go and looked to edge Chester ahead but superb scrambling defence from Dalton caught him 20 metres out. Dan Tabberer made a crunching tackle on the left edge of defence forcing an error and giving Chester the ball back.
With the time running down Chester were still in with a shot of stealing the game but with 3 minutes to go Dalton attacked down the left edge and managed to sneak over for a try to seal the win and break the Chester hearts after such a long travel and spirited performance against a very well drilled and strog Cumbrian side.
The opponents Man of the Match went to Harry MacMillan who had a superb game in defence and attack and was a constant threat, the Chester coaches couldnt select one player as everyone in the 14 stood up to the challenge and showed how well they are all progressing and improving.
Chester host Rylands next Sunday at the Cheshire with a 11:00am kick off in the league