STEVE Dorrington feels Chester's chances of success this season have been undermined by a stop-start fixture programme.
The mid-table Hare Lane club returned to action following a three-week break at Huddersfield on Saturday but fell to a 22-13 defeat.
Their campaign has been hit by a series of postponements and unscheduled breaks, with the first team playing only one fixture during December and two in January.
Just when the matches were starting to come thick and fast for Chester, two weekends of heavy snow put paid to matches against Altrincham Kersal and Birkenhead Park.
Team boss Dorrington, whose side entertain West Park St Helens tomorrow, was pleased by the level of effort shown by his players at Huddersfield and blamed the defeat on 'rustiness'.
He said: 'No wonder we are rusty on the paddock - we have had a season of continual interruptions which has devastated any form of continuity that we may have been able to demonstrate.
'Although we had seven first-team reg-
ulars out of the team through injury or suspension, the guys who came in showed there is real quality developing in the depth of this squad.
'I wasn't pleased with the result, but I was pleased with the effort demonstrated by the team.'
Chester started well and Matt Bebbington slotted over two penalties to put the visitors 6-0 up.
Huddersfield halved the deficit with a penalty to make it 6-3 going into the half-time break and capitalised on two further kicks on goal early in the second half.
A stunning solo try from the Huddersfield full-back made it 14-6 and the extra points were kicked, along with a penalty shortly after, to pile further pressure on Chester.
At 19-6 down, Dorrington's men were up against it but good work involving Steve Burke and Jim Lyle allowed Ian Brookes to finish off a fine try, with Bebbington making the conversion.
Chester pressed on but Huddersfield's
Jamie Grayshon's kicking game kept the visitors pinned back time and time again.
Refusing to give up without a fight, Chester on many occasions found themselves approaching the home side's try-line, only to see the ball cleared.
The away side cracked late on and gave away a penalty that Huddersfield capitalised on to make it
Chester's Walker Smith Way man-of-the-match award went to Burke, who turned in a workmanlike performance.