Chester 14 Newport (Salop) 3
PROMOTION dreams were kept alive by Chester at Hare Lane as they registered the win they needed to seal their passage into the play-offs.
Saturday’s 14-3 triumph – coupled with a 15-13 success for Luctonians over Kenilworth – was enough to elevate Rob Foden’s team to second in Midlands One on the final day of the regular season.
A winner-takes-all play-off at Hull – runners-up in North One – now awaits Chester this Saturday in what is sure to be one of the biggest games in the Hare Lane club’s history.
In front of a large crowd on Saturday, visitors Newport took the lead with a penalty. The game was then held up for 30 minutes while a visiting player was treated for a broken leg, but once play restarted Chester stepped up the pressure.
James Farrell’s try, converted by Tom Foden, put the hosts into the lead, but Chester were then reduced to 14 men when Gareth Coy was red carded following a melee.
Chester, however, did not let their numerical advantage count against them after the break as a Ross White try – converted by Foden – sealed victory on a day when nothing less would have done.
With head coach Rob Foden and director of rugby Steve Donovan stepping down at the end of the season, forwards coach Tim Doig will assume control of the team in 2009-10.
Simon Verbickas will stay on as backs coach, with Dave Craven making the step up from the 2nds to become forwards coach. Coach Dan Huxley is also stepping down.