Chester RUFC produced a valiant display but could not resist local rivals Caldy in their final game of 2016.
The Hare Lane outfit matched the free-scoring league leaders for 70 minutes before a pair of late tries sealed a 21-3 win for the Wirral club.
Despite the positives to be drawn from their performance it extended Chester's winless run to five games.
Chester sit eighth in the National League 2 North heading into 2017.
It was a second meeting of the season between the two rivals, Caldy winning 35-17 at Hare Lane in September.
The visitors made a positive start cheered on by the travelling support, but were unable to breach the try line at the end of some nice work through the phases.
Captain Guy Ford thought he had scored only for it to be chalked off by the referee.
They were made to rue the missed opportunities as Caldy managed to turn their possession into points and knocked over three penalties in succession.
A competitive first half saw the hosts lead 9-0 at the break.
Chester got onto the scoreboard soon after the restart as Alex Burrage struck with the boot to bring his team within a converted try of the opposition.
The away side pushed on through their forward pack as Ford and Mike Craven made darts for the line after rumbling forward behind a maul, but they were unable to force a way through.
The Ravers made them pay as they went straight up the other end to score the first try of the game at the end of a patient attacking move.
Caldy have only lost once all season and their tough defence ensured they walked away with the points.
They had time to add a second score in the final moments and seal the 21-3 scoreline.
It was a battling performance from Chester but sadly one which went unrewarded.
Next up in the New Year is a trip to bottom side Preston Grasshoppers on January 7.
In their crunch clash, Helsby RUFC lost out 12-9 in a hard-fought contest at Crosby St Mary’s.
Helsby remain second in the league above the Lancashire outfit, who have two games in hand.
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