Feb 7 2013 by Paul Wheelock, Chester Chronicle
NIC Corrigan believes Saturday’s trip to rivals Sandal will be a true test of Chester’s title credentials (2.15pm).
Chester, who have missed out on promotion in the last two seasons, make their way to West Yorkshire having extended their commanding lead at the top of National League Three North.
But Corrigan was not overly impressed with the performance in last weekend’s 46-16 win over Waterloo – and he knows an improved display is needed against form-team Sandal.
The third-placed Wakefield outfit have won eight and drawn one of their last nine league matches since going down 40-16 at Hare Lane in October’s reverse fixture between the high-flying sides.
Victory on Saturday would give Sandal fresh hope that they could yet catch Corrigan’s runaway leaders.
The Chester head coach said: “We’ve got to play 15-man rugby and take the game to them both in defence and in attack.
“We know what we’re going to be up against – they’re a well-drilled and good Yorkshire side.
“This is going to be a big test for us.
“But it gives us a chance to send out a message to Harrogate, to Sandal, and to the rest of the league that Chester are not chokers.”
Chester moved 14 points clear of second-placed Harrogate on Saturday after they overcame Waterloo and their closest challengers saw their scheduled clash with Bradford & Bingley postponed.
Corrigan said: “Waterloo were well organised and took the game to us.
“The final scoreline flattered us as for 60 minutes we were very poor.”
Playing their first game for three weeks, it was not until midway through the first half that the hosts began to shake off the ring rust as Lloyd Hayes rounded off a flowing team move.
Hayes has been Chester’s star performer this season.
But he had to take a back seat to man-of-the-match Ross White, who helped himself to a brace of tries and had a hand in several others.
Tom Evans, Rhys Hayes, James Whitelock-Wainright and the returning Pete Rees also touched down in yet another bonus-point victory for Chester.
Corrigan will have a strong squad for the Sandal showdown.
Title-challenging Christleton suffered a 36-17 home loss to Northwich 3rds in Raging Bull North West League Division Four South on Saturday.
Helsby were thrashed 66-0 at Ellesmere Port in South Lancs/Cheshire Division Three.