Chester 30 Harrogate 19
CHESTER have been warned not to get carried away with the superb bonus-point victory that took them to the top of the table.
The on-fire Hare Lane outfit knocked previously unbeaten Harrogate off the summit on Saturday after winning the fiercely fought battle between the title rivals.
Chester head coach Nic Corrigan was delighted by his team’s collective performance but he insists they cannot afford to rest on their laurels, especially with a trip to his former club Bradford & Bingley coming up this Saturday (2.15pm).
Corrigan, who used to be the West Yorkshire club’s director of coaching, said: “We’re very happy to be back top of the league as that’s where we want to be.
“But we’ve got a different and difficult challenge against Bradford & Bingley and it will be a big test of the lads to see if they can pick themselves up after such a big win.
“This is something Chester have failed to do in the past – to find that consistency.
“Complacency can lead to arrogance – it’s a fine line – and the players are aware of that both individually and as a team.
“If Harrogate win on Saturday and we lose then all of our hard work will be undone.
“We just have to trust ourselves. The results certainly show we are doing something right.”
A big crowd watched Chester inflict a first defeat of the season on Harrogate, who came into the clash on the back of 10 straight wins.
The hosts started strongly and took a third-minute lead when Lloyd Hayes slotted over a penalty. The lead was extended when winger Tom Evans collected a dropped pass and showed great speed and composure to hack the ball 80 metres downfield to score in thrilling fashion.
Hayes added the extras but was unable to repeat the trick after Sean Green touched down nine minutes before half-time. The try came about after Tom Gregory won excellent quick lineout ball, which was moved across the backs by Rhys Hayes to Tom Foden and then on to Green.
A lapse in discipline and concentration led to Harrogate breaching the determined home defence straight after the restart but Chester restored their 15-point advantage when more great work at the lineout – this time from Llion Jones – ended with Foden playing in Evans for his second try.
Harrogate reduced the deficit after Mike Craven was sinbinned at a ruck but their hopes of a comeback were ended when Lloyd Hayes took a pass from Will Goodwin and beat three defenders to go over in the corner.
Hayes converted his own try and then added a penalty before Harrogate were awarded a late – and ultimately meaningless – penalty try.
Chester 2nds were 58-7 winners at Wilmslow 2nds on Saturday.
Helsby were well beaten 72-0 at Manchester Medics.