CHESTER'S plan to end North One leaders Hull's unbeaten record came unstuck on Humberside on Saturday.
Defeat dented their hopes of maintaining a promotion challenge after failing to make the most of a good start.
From the first whistle, the Chester pack stamped their authority on the game by providing the backs with lots of excellently recycled ball. But the back line failed to penetrate the Hull rearguard which, to their credit, was strong all afternoon.
It was down to the heavy Chester pack to open the scoring and they did so in fine style as they drove Hull over their own line from an eight-metres scrum, which was finished off by the impressive number eight Matt Sheen. The simple conversion attempt was missed.
It was now 14 minutes into the game and Hull had not seen the ball, with the Chester pack still delivering quantities of possession which could only have been dreamed about before kick-off.
But the back line made yet another mistake which let Hull capture the ball for the first time. They put a bit of pace on the line and three passes later, the winger strolled over the line untouched to make the score 5-5.
Chester still had the confidence that they started with and continued their attempt to power upfield. But another mistake in a turnover and Hull cleared their lines.
Chester were still winning plenty of ball, only to concede ground through their own errors, until Hull eventually had a maul near the visiting line which saw Gareth Sanger snatch possession legally, only to be mysteriously penalised by the referee.
From the penalty, the Hull backs put the pace on and romped through holes in the Chester defence.
Now Hull were well and truly in the game and Chester were finding it hard to cope as every time they got the ball, an error would emerge which left the hosts with lots of space to work their magic.
Unfortunately for Chester, Hull managed to exploit significant weaknesses in defence and were able to turn certain players over with ease during contact. Time and time again, Chester were making the wrong options following the presentation of decent ball.
It wasn't until the last 15 minutes that Chester reproduced their early form, and as the mistakes reduced they started to look like a team again. They finished the stronger and Sheen was rewarded with another unconverted try.
The Walker Smith Way man-of-the-match went to front-row man Gavin Woods who had an excellent game.
Helsby 30, Holmes Chapel 22
HELSBY moved into second place in the league with a late victory over Holmes Chapel on Saturday.
In a tight opening 20 minutes, two Andy Rowlinson penalties put Helsby ahead before a great solo try from Ashley Wakefield, who skipped through three would-be tacklers to race under the posts.
Holmes Chapel replied with a penalty and on the stroke of half time scored a well-worked try.
A poor start to the second half by Helsby allowed the visitors to score twice in the opening few minutes to establish a good lead.
Helsby's response came when John Williams broke through the Holmes Chapel defence and had enough pace to make it to the try line, reducing the deficit to just two points.
With time running out, a good Helsby scrum gave Rowlinson the position to slot over a drop goal and regain the lead for the home side. And in the last minute, stand-off Simon Williams regathered Williams's kick over to score near the corner and secure a dramatic victory.
Helsby's Frodsham Tandoori MoM was John Williams for his strong running.
Helsby travel to Merseyside Police tomorrow.