Stockport 27 Chester 17
CHESTER were unable to find a fitting end to a season which has exceeded all of boss Tim Doig’s expectations.
The Hare Lane director of rugby heaped praise on his players after Saturday’s game, despite seeing them edged out by derby rivals Stockport.
Chester have been pushing for promotion for much of Doig’s debut campaign in the top job. But they ran out of steam in the final few weeks, finishing a creditable fourth in Division Three North.
Doig said: “I am extremely proud of all my players. They have lived up to and beyond all my expectations.
“It has been a huge learning curve for all concerned this season, and we have built a great team atmosphere in which all the players seem to revel.
“My hat goes off to coaches Dave Craven and Simon Verbickas, and to captain Sean Green who has been fantastic all season.”
Promotion-chasing Stockport used their bigger back to put pressure on Chester in the early exchanges, registering two pushover tries.
A Rhys Hayes penalty put three points on the board for Chester and, following a well-taken score from the hosts, the elusive Pat Coy registered the visitors’ first try, converted by Hayes.
In the second half, Stockport were awarded a dubious try after their big pack crossed the whitewash. But Chester struck back with a great move, finished off by Will Bown.
With Hayes converting, the score was narrowed to 22-17 and Chester had their tails up.
But with time running out, a lapse in concentration allowed Stockport to add another try in the corner.
In South Lancs/Cheshire Three on Saturday, Helsby went down to a heavy 62-10 loss at Capenhurst. Helsby host Congleton this Saturday.
In Miller Homes Division Four West, Christleton lost out 48-26 at Southport 2nds.