Chester 2nd XV vs PGRFC 2nd XV

Date: 17 April 2014

Chester 2nd XV 29 Hoppers 2nd XV 40

The second team continue to set the early pace in the Bateman Premier League following a hard fought victory at a hot and sunny Chester.

Preston’s first possession saw Adam Birchall score a fine try following a smart chip through by Murray. However Young’s men were unable to maintain any pace or momentum and their overall performance was somewhat below par.

Despite making most of the early running a loose pass was intercepted by the Chester left winger and he seemed destined to level the scores until the tireless Webster chased him down.

The home side got onto the scoreboard a few moments later when Doney was pinged for not rolling away. The Chester stand-off who had an effective game with the boot punched the penalty over and the score was 7-3 to Young’s tyros.

The home side were then reduced to fourteen men when their number eight was yellow carded for stamping on Harry Moulding. Hoppers soon increased their lead with a penalty from the reliable boot of Ollie Farley.

Chester again reduced the arrears after Murray was deemed to have tackled high and the score was 10-6. Hoppers number eight Chris Taylor then bagged the first of three tries as his pack drove the much larger Chester forwards over their own line. Farley was wide with the extras and Chester hit back immediately with their third penalty of the day.
Birchall, who threatened all afternoon, scored a well taken second try after being put through by Murray. The conversion meant that Preston led 22-9 and had an ideal platform to power on to a convincing victory.

However on a surprisingly hot afternoon Preston failed to maintain any continuity and when Chester turned a scrum over it led to a pretty soft score on the right hand side. Farley’s subsequent penalty took the score to 25-16 but the match felt even closer than the scoreboard suggested.

Skipper Chris Taylor scored his second of the day when the Hoppers pack repeated their earlier feat. The conversion hit the woodwork and the score was 30-16 as the team’s took their mid-game breather.

Chris Taylor

Chester started the second half much the better side and dominated proceedings. A penalty followed by a converted try near the posts saw Hoppers lead shrink to just four points. There was only one team in the game and they were wearing red. Young’s frustration was compounded when another penalty for Chester took the score to 30-29 and Hoppers looked to be in real danger of losing their first game since Macclesfield overcame them at Lightfoot Green in the Spring.

Fortunately they roused form their slumber and when Webster was tackled high it gave Farley the opportunity to extend the lead. The young centre made no mistake with his penalty and this appeared to galvanise the visitors. Preston began to maintain some pressure on their hosts and when they put together six or seven phases for the first time they were rewarded. Taylor grabbed his hat trick try and Flynn’s kick meant that Hoppers had the protection of an eleven point lead.

Young’s men held on for what was a pretty ugly victory. Credit should go to Hoppers for coming through what was a tough trip to a resolute and powerful Chester side who will certainly win more games than they lose this season.

Preston were somewhat disappointed at the final whistle and Young unleashed the Remington for the first time this season. Given the standards the side have set over the last two years it is fair to say that they’ve not hit their straps yet. However that will soon be forgotten with a good week’s training in the run up to next Saturday’s visit from struggling Wilmslow.

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