Chester marked their return to National League 2 North action with a return to winning ways as they recorded an excellent 13-10 success at Sheffield Tigers on Saturday.
The big-scoring Tigers went into the game as the firm favourites after a five-match winning run that included a victory over title-challenging Stourbridge.
But their fine run of form was ended by a Chester side who were desperate to bounce back from the defeats they suffered at the hands of Leicester Lions and Sedgley Park before the mini break.
And, thanks to a late penalty from Liam McGovern, and a superb showing from their forwards, they did just that.
Sheffield saw two try-scoring opportunities come and go before they broke the deadlock in the fifth minute through a Mark Ireland penalty after Chester were punished for offside from a scrum in their own 22.
Parity was restored in the 15th minute by James Robins after the Tigers, neither for the first or last time, were penalised for not releasing the ball quickly enough after it went to ground.
From the restart a fired-up Lee Monks plucked the ball out of the air and set in motion a forward drive that was finished off by Ed Simmons.
Ireland added the extras to put Sheffield 10-3 in front.
However, the Tigers were struggling to adapt to the referee’s interpretation of the laws.
Frequently they gained ground only to be penalised and end up defending again.
But their lack of a killer touch was also proving to be problematic.
And, after another chance went begging, Chester levelled matters for the second time in the match.
From a lineout, the visiting forwards powered ahead and hardworking No 8 and captain Guy Ford crossed the whitewash for a try that Robbins converted.
The try gave Chester confidence and for most of the second half they restricted the hosts to a handful of meaningful attacks.
And 10 minutes from time the breakthrough came.
After the referee deemed the Sheffield back row had kicked the ball through, Chester kept the pressure on and eventually won a penalty that McGovern slotted over the posts.
The kick settled a hard-fought contest.
But late on the Tigers thought they had won it when Frank Wagg made a break down the wing before touching down.
The effort, however, was ruled out as Wagg’s foot was adjudged to have touched the sideline.
Chester’s sixth win of the season – and their second away from home – ensured they strengthened their top-10 spot going into this Saturday’s home clash with fifth-placed Sale (3pm kick-off).
Meanwhile, James Preston scored seven tries as table-topping Chester 2nds romped to a 109-17 home win over Sale 2nds in the North West League Premier Division last Saturday.
Helsby moved up to fourth in Division Three South with a 35-20 success at Lymm 3rds.