Chester 24 - 5 Peterborough Lions
Straightforward bonus point win
26th January 2019
This was a pretty straightforward bonus point win for Chester over bottom of the table Peterborough Lions writes Des Hickie. It left the home side firmly in second place in the league, only two points adrift of Hull Ionians who lost 7-3 at Stourbridge.
On a very wet, dark and mostly blustery afternoon, Chester took the lead in the seventh minute and did not relinquish it. From a scrum 5 metres out, the home side controlled the ball going left through a series of drives from forwards coming round the corner until the Lions defence was stretched to breaking point and Guy Ford crossed from close range for an unconverted try. This was in fact already Chester’s third try scoring opportunity, the first two coming to grief when the wet ball wasn’t held with the line at their mercy.
Lions had their opportunities to exert pressure but, despite a strong scrum, they found it very difficult to create real scoring opportunities. Their lineout was under pressure from early on and, when their forwards carried, they couldn’t really dominate the gain line. Their backs were often working with slow ball and were unable to cope with the line speed of the home defence – hence balls were dropped and attacks ground to a halt. Their pack did manage to drive a lineout and set up and a quick ruck for an unconverted try in the 36th minute, but by then Chester had already scored their second try from an attacking scrum. In the 20th minute Shay Owen, at No.8, had picked up and gone blind from a 5 metre scrum. The ball was passed to right wing Andrew Oakden who crossed for another unconverted try.
Even the glimmer of a Lions’ revival was eliminated by Chester scores either side of half time. Just before the break Shay Owen once again picked up from a 5metre scrum to cross for a try converted by Callum Bennett. Then, 5 minutes after the restart, Mike Craven scored the try of the game. The Chester pack went backwards from an attacking scrum about 20 metres out from Lions’ line, but managed to recover the ball. A couple of picks and goes later the ball was moved left and then immediately back right. Outside centre Adam King cleverly held the ball up just long enough to stand up two Lions defenders. He passed to Mike Craven who stepped off his right foot into the resulting gap and crossed for another converted try.
There were 35 minutes left to play but that was effectively that. Chester had their bonus point and were 19 points in front. Lions, to be fair, never gave up. At one point they had 6 minutes of consistent attacking pressure, but they lacked either the power or guile to make it count on the scoreboard. The wet weather and a dozen or so penalties and free kicks didn’t help create any continuity in play. By the final whistle the home crowd was happy to return to the clubhouse and celebrate Ross White’s 301st cap for the club – a great achievement. Well done Ross!