Chester Gladiators 46 Crewe & Nant. Steamers 6
THE Gladiators ended their debut Co-operative Conference campaign in style on Saturday, chalking up a convincing victory against their local rivals from Crewe and Nantwich.
Chester went into the game knowing they could not make a play-off spot, but also aware that a victory by 40 points or more would see them leapfrog Blackpool Sea Eagles into second spot in the North West division – and that’s exactly what they achieved.
The Hare Lane hosts started brightly and took an early lead when fullback Simon Quinn collected a superb offload from Joe Sproston to mark his return to action with a try, which he successfully converted.
Chester extended their lead with a try from Welsh winger Ash Owen, who linked well with centre Damon Williams to round off a neat passing move.
Sproston followed up his earlier assist with a try of his own on 28 minutes before player coach Dec Foy created an opening for Williams to give the Gladiators a commanding 24-0 lead at the interval.
Chester continued to dominate proceedings after the break, with England Lionhearts centre Rob Massam continuing his fine form with two tries.
Sproston and Williams doubled their tallies for the afternoon before the Steamers responded with a late score.
A typically hard-fought derby saw both sides produce some aggressive defence and tempers eventually flared close to full time, with players becoming involved in a scuffle which was quickly defused by referee Stephen Catterall.
The final whistle soon followed as Chester held on to win by the required margin.
Fullback Quinn was named as the Bartletts Solicitors man of the match for a near faultless display that saw him claim a try and kick seven conversions from eight attempts.