Chester made it back-to-back wins in the National League 2 North for the first time this season on Saturday when they broke their away duck with a 24-14 success at basement boys Sheffield.
And the success, which was Chester’s first on their travels since the 2017-18 campaign kicked off, was made all the more pleasing given the circumstances it was achieved in.
Jan van Deventer was without a number of first-team regulars for the trip to windswept Abbeydale Park.
But the players that came in certainly grasped their opportunity as Chester prevailed in difficult conditions
However, it was promoted Sheffield, bidding to end their six-game losing start to the season, who were faster out of traps with a strong wind at their backs, taking a 7-0 lead through a Steve Depledge try that he converted.
Back came Chester and they reduced the deficit with a penalty from Liam McGovern before they went in front for the first time when winger Jack Leech touched down in the corner after good work from Ross White and Tom Holloway.
McGovern missed what was a very difficult conversion attempt into a gale.
But he soon made amends after Chester ran back Sheffield’s restart kick, knocking over a simple penalty.
The Hare Lane outfit had managed the first half well, notably through some excellent carries from the pack, and now, with the wind in their favour, they were determined to finish the job after the restart.
But, while Sheffield’s attack remained blunt, their defence was hardworking and, another well-struck McGovern penalty aside, Chester struggled to make a breakthrough.
And 10 minutes into the second half they were pegged back after Andy Hodgson scored an excellent individual try.
Chester then went close to scoring on four occasions only to miss out due to a mixture of inaccuracy and resolute defending.
But McGovern’s trusty boot edged them back ahead and they sealed the victory in the last move of the match.
After three strong carries from a five-metre scrum, the ball was moved right to substitute James Robins to cross in the corner, with McGovern adding the extras to take his personal points haul up to 14.
Chester head coach van Deventer, whose eighth-placed side travel to third-bottom Blaydon this Saturday, said: “We built a very strong squad in the off-season and all of the players are capable of coming in and playing at this level.
“Some spent seven weeks of playing second-team rugby but they’ve waited their turn and when their chance came on Saturday they took it.
“It was a game played in very tough conditions and I was pleased with our attitude and workrate.
“I’m pleased with the start we’ve made. You have to take into consideration that two of our defeats have come against the teams at the top (Stourbridge and Tynedale), who have won seven out of seven.”