Nic Corrigan was proud of his players for grinding out a gutsy 10-8 win over ‘cynical’ opponents Otley.

Chester were eight points down at the break before battling back in the second period to emerge on top.

But director of rugby Corrigan was left bemoaning Otley’s spoiling tactics at the scrum, particularly in the first half.

Having spent his playing days in the pack, Corrigan worries the art of scrummaging will be lost if offenders are not pulled up sooner.

“It was a tough game in very difficult conditions and we seem to be enjoying playing rugby in the mud at the moment,” said Corrigan.

“But I really fear for the scrum in rugby union because Otley were very cynical.

“They were not taking the hit and they got away with it for quite a while and that was a massive frustration for me.”

Chester went into the game missing a host of key players through injury including Tom Gregory, Tom Foden, Rhys Hayes and Mike Craven.

“We had to play a number of people out of position and those guys really stepped up to the mark for us,” said Corrigan, whose side are now five points behind fourth-placed Sedgley Park.

“The average age of our bench for the game was 19 and all of those lads came on and had a real big impact so that was pleasing.”

With the wind swirling around Hare Lane and heavy rain soaking the pitch, the clash with Otley was not one for the purists.

Playing with the wind behind them, the Yorkshire outfit put the hosts under pressure early on, landing a three-pointer for offside on six minutes.

Chester grew into the contest with Guy Ford and Luke Gray making good metres but were unable to convert possession into points.

Otley scored the opening try on 20 minutes, turning the ball over and shifting play wide with the winger touching down, but the conversion was off target.

Corrigan’s side enjoyed some good possession but an inability to hold onto the ball prevented them from gaining the upper hand.

With the interval approaching, Otley wasted a golden chance to score a second as the winger knocked on in the process of picking up a deft chip.

Otley found the going tougher in the second half with the home side now able to call on the wind.

Chester won an attacking line out and a strong drive from the pack resulted in John Mackenzie crossing for an unconverted try.

Corrigan’s men hit the front for the first time on 56 minutes when Ford picked up from the base of the scrum and powered over the line for another unconverted try to make the score 10-8.

Both sides tired as the game wore on with neither unable to take advantage of decent scoring opportunities and the hosts held on for a hard-fought win.

Chester do not have a game this weekend and Corrigan plans to give his players the chance to rest up.

He said: “We will have them in for a rehab session and a team fish and chip night before a week off.

“They guys have been working very hard and the break has come at the right time for us.”