CHESTER RUFC are back in the title hunt after registering a 4-1 victory over second-placed Grove Park.
South African champion Steve Coppinger returned from a world tour, allowing the club to play at full strength for the first time since November.
Chester were out for revenge after being defeated earlier in the season at Grove Park and a large crowd created a fantastic atmosphere at Hare Lane.
Chester captain Jonathon Clark, giving 25 years to his young opponent Ky Hibberd, took a little time to warm up. Clark gradually got into the game and eventually experience and determination told and he put Chester one up with a tight three-game win.
Chester’s most consistent performer was over-45 veteran Phil Whitlock and he taught his young opponent, Yorkshire pro Adam Taylor, a squash lesson as he beat him 3-0.
Michael Waight delivered the match of the night, however. He put in a one-and-a-half hour shift to eliminate up-and-coming Lancastrian Morgan Hibberd.
Nick Taylor made it four in a hugely entertaining match against Grove Park’s Yawar Abbas. Both players are involved with the National Squash Centre in Manchester and know each other’s games well, but Taylor just had the edge to take the game 3-1.
In the battle of the top strings, South African champion Coppinger started fantastically against world number 50 Andy Whipp. Despite a winter break in his home country, Coppinger looked very sharp.
Whipp, however, has the higher world ranking and was determined not to lose. He eventually took the upper hand and ran out a 3-1 victor to give Grove Park some consolation.
The win puts Chester within touching distance of the top but they face selection problems in the coming weeks as neither Coppinger nor Taylor will be available for the next two games.