Chester 30 Ampthill 15
CHESTER moved to within two victories of a dream appearance at Twickenham thanks to a comfortable home win in the EDF Energy Intermediate Cup on Saturday.
Their success over Midlands outfit Ampthill put them into the quarter-finals, where they will face Basingstoke at Hare Lane on Saturday, February 23.
If Rob Foden’s men go all the way to the final itself, they will play at Twickenham – the home of English rugby – on April 12 as part of an all-day programme which also features the final of the EDF Energy National Trophy and EDF Energy Cup.
Head coach Foden is enjoying his team’s cup run but he insists promotion back to North One is still the club’s main goal.
He said: “The league is our priority this season and promotion our objective.
“We have to be at our best next week against Northwich as we cannot afford any slip ups.”
Chester opened the scoring against Ampthill when prop Richie Moore dived over the line and Tom Foden kicked the extras.
It wasn’t until the Ampthill hooker was sin binned for a cynical piece of play, after another promising Chester three-quarter move, that the hosts increased their lead.
After a clean take at the lineout by Ross White, hooker Steve Roberts was on hand to score and Foden converted to make it 14-0 at half-time.
Within three minutes of the restart, Chester extended their lead when Foden kicked a penalty but Ampthill answered back with three points of their own to make it 17-3.
With Richie Moore harshly sent to the sin bin for not rolling away from the tackle, the home side produced some of the best rugby of the day when Foden converted a penalty and then Simon Verbickas created an opening for man of the match Ross White to round the fullback and score under the posts. Foden maintained his 100% conversion record by adding the extras.
The final 15 minutes became scrappy and a lack of concentration from Chester allowed Ampthill to finish with a flourish as they scored two tries, one from a driving maul and the other from a catalogue of home errors from a lineout.
The final score finished 30-15 in Chester’s favour after Foden added a 77th-minute penalty.
Chester host Northwich tomorrow (2.15pm ko).