Penrith 13 Chester 15
CHESTER head coach Dave Craven hailed his forwards after a determined display saw them overcome Penrith on Saturday.
The final scoreline failed to do justice to the visitors, who were happy to get back to winning ways following recent defeats to Middlesbrough and Morley in National League Division Three (North).
Chester survived a last-minute scare when an ambitious Penrith penalty attempt from 50 metres missed the target.
But they were worthy winners on a wet and windy afternoon in Cumbria.
Craven said: “It was a forward-orientated game, but we stepped up to the mark and took it to them.
“Their pack was a lot bigger than ours but we more than matched them. The final score didn’t reflect the game.
“We scored three tries to their one and would have won by a bigger margin if we’d put over our kicks.”
Chester started well and pinned Penrith in their own half, Rhys Hayes missing an early penalty. But it was the hosts who took the lead with a controversial converted try.
An apparent knock-on was missed by the referee in the build-up and, as the visiting players waited for the whistle, Penrith went over in the corner.
The heavy pitch meant the match lacked fluency, but Chester’s pack – with debutant prop Geoff Kendall in impressive form – rose to the challenge.
After a succession of rucks, the Hare Lane side got back in the game when Simon Verbickas chipped the ball through for Marcus Lyons to score.
Chester then moved into a three-point lead when good work by Andy Moore and Sean Green created an opening for hooker John Gill, who went over in the corner.
But as the half-time whistle approached, Penrith were able to draw level at 10-10 when Chester conceded a penalty for being caught offside.
The Winters Park outfit tried to turn the screw after the restart and went ahead thanks to another penalty. They kept to their game plan well, but Chester’s resolute defence held firm.
The winning try came when a perfectly executed lineout was followed by a drive for the line by the forwards. James Whitlock-Wainwright was the man who put the ball down to make it 15-13.
With time ticking away, Penrith tried and failed with an ambitious penalty effort from close to the halfway line. But there could be no doubt Chester had deserved the win – and it was their forwards who took most of the plaudits.
Fourth-placed Chester do not have a first-team game this weekend but the 2nds host Kendal on Saturday.