Chester RUFC ended their season with a bonus point 22-8 home win over Scunthorpe, who were relegated as a result.
The match was a scrappy affair, with its fair share of errors from both sides, and it took the high-flying Hare Lane outfit 55 minutes to move decisively ahead, and they did not score the bonus point try until the last knockings.
Nevertheless the Chester performance was notable for the emotional send-off given to Will Bown, playing his final match for the club after almost a decade at the heart of the firsts’ achievements.
It also saw a couple of fine tries and highly promising performances from youngsters Harry Craven and Alex Burrage.
Scunthorpe, knowing they needed to win to stand any chance of survival, began with real intent, running back a Chester clearance deep into home territory in the first minute.
There it was quickly recycled to flanker Jake Baron, who easily broke two tackles before offloading to left wing Olly Passmore, who made progress up the touchline before passing inside for fullback Colin Chapman to score an unconverted try.
Chester came close to scoring 10 minutes later with a rolling maul from a lineout but, when it went down just short of the Scunthorpe line, they lacked sufficient composure to construct a score.
While the away side's scrum gained a fair measure of ascendancy, both teams' lineouts malfunctioned at times and their handling let them down at others.
However, just after the half-hour mark, a loose Scunthorpe dropout was taken into contact by Guy Ford. Chester at last showed patience and accuracy, through 11 phases, before Alex Reed dived over for a try wide out, well converted by Callum Bennett.
The visitors responded with their longest period of pressure of the opening period.
The home defence held them out quite comfortably, but lacked the control to exit their own half. They then coughed up a soft penalty, for an unnecessary high tackle in the last minute of the half, which put Scunthorpe back in front at 8-7.
The Chester forwards produced some big carries early in the second half. Having been held up over the try line, captain Ford picked up from the resulting scrum before giving a crash ball to Freeman Payne on an inside line.
And Payne managed powerfully to wrestle his way over for an unconverted try.
Shortly after Harrison Vare was bundled into touch just short. Now, it was Scuthorpe’s turn to be unable to exit effectively from deep defence, and Pete Rees punished them with an excellent unconverted try, featuring good work from Sean Green and Tom Cokell.
And Cokell and Vare were also involved before Green crossed the whitewash to bag the bonus point try.
The result secured Chester fifth place after a season of significant improvement in National League 2 North under head coach Jan van Deventer.