Chester 17 Bradford & Bingley 26
A DISMAL second-half performance condemned Chester to defeat on Saturday as they fell further off the pace in the race for the title.
While leaders Darlington MP were busy beating Sandal 29-10, Chester were falling to the fourth defeat of the season in National League Three North.
The Hare Lane men are now a distant 10 points behind Darlington.
They put themselves under pressure from the kick-off on Saturday when a bad kick gave Bradford a scrum which led to a try in the corner.
The hosts levelled eight minutes later, Barry Holmes scoring an interception try which allowed Liam McGovern an easy conversion for a 7-5 lead.
McGovern extended the advantage seven minutes later with a well-struck penalty but the gap was cut to two points with a Bradford penalty (10-8).
The tit-for-tat scoring continued as Chester forged into a 17-8 lead.
Holmes found second row Tom Gregory and the big man crashed over the line from two metres out, allowing McGivern a simple conversion.
Chester now looked in complete control but they let Bradford back into the game.
The visitors capitalised on another mistake – this time from a deep kick – to score a try and make it 17-13 going into the half-time break.
What followed was an extremely poor second-half performance from the hosts.
The gap was cut to one point courtesy of a Bradford penalty before Chester imploded completely, allowing the Yorkshire side to score two unconverted tries.
In the Bateman Premier League, Chester 2nds fell to a 7-5 loss at Sedgley Park 2nds.
Christleton lost 56-0 at home to Widnes 3rds in the University of Salford League, while Helsby claimed a superb home success in South Lancs/Cheshire Three.
They ran out deserved 16-13 winners over second-placed Holmes Chapel.