Longton 16 Chester 19
ON a day when the weather meant the faint-hearted stayed at home and the brave resorted to watching from the balcony of Longton’s new clubhouse, Chester took the game to their hosts and emerged victorious.
Skipper Sean Green elected to battle up the slope and against the wind in the first half and Chester still ran the ball back into the heart of the Longton defence.
Longton took the lead with a penalty and a drop goal but their kicking game would only prove effective in the first half.
From one of the many high balls, Jack Bromley found himself tackled late and the damage to his shoulder was so severe that he was forced to retire.
Chester brought Gareth Coy into the fray and switched Simon Verbickas to fullback.
The travelling side conceded only one more penalty and got to half-time 9-0 down.
Tactical changes were made during the interval with Verbickas again moved, this time to number 10, and prolific kicker Tom Foden going to fullback.
It worked almost immediately. Verbickas found himself in a two-on-one situation with Ed Chantler in support and a perfectly timed pass saw the winger score in the corner with Foden converting.
Unfortunately, a blow to the head just before half-time had affected Chantler and he had to be removed straight after the try.
This forced Chester to shuffle their pack once more with number eight Ross White going onto the wing and Chris Lewis coming on at the back of the scrum.
Prop Richie Moore then committed one foul too many for the referee and was sin-binned, leaving Chester down to 14.
Longton quickly scored a try and conversion to open up the gap again.
The weakened Chester pack began to dominate the hosts, however, and James Farrell found Lawton who grounded for Chester to regain the lead.
Foden’s conversion was disallowed by the referee and despite going back down to 14 before the end, Chester held on for the win.
Chester host Kenilworth tomorrow.
Christleton 10 Warrington 7: Christleton continued their winning form with a scrappy win over Warrington.
The only points in the first half came from Christleton flanker Jake Lack crossing the whitewash from a tap penalty.
Dave Taylor converted and as Warrington’s discipline deserted them Christleton stayed clear of trouble.
Several Warrington players received yellow cards and one was sent off but they did manage to pin Christleton into their own 22 for a time.
Strong defence from the likes of Graham Noble and Jez Birch maintained Christleton’s advantage before man-of-the-match Woyciech Okrayek managed a converted try.
In the dying minutes, James Taylor, skipper after Chris Lightfoot was injured, elected to kick for goal to take the victory.
Christleton host Wirral tomorrow in the second round of the Halbro Shield (2:30pm kick-off).
St Mary’s 32 Helsby 13: Helsby made the drive up to Southport with a weakened side which saw veteran Tony Ryder returning to start at prop.
Despite this the first half saw a defiant Helsby play positive rugby, with great control at the breakdown and solid attacking in the backs.
It was St Mary’s who took the lead, however, via an interception which was duly converted.
Helsby missed their finishers and were punished by some soft defending and at half-time trailed 19-3.
Helsby hit back with seven points after the interval when skipper Jim Gray carved through the opposition defence after a beautifully timed pass from centre Bob Merrill.
This was followed by a further three points which put Helsby to within a converted score at 19-13.
Helsby were put out of contention with 10 minutes to go, however, when St Mary’s were awarded a penalty under the posts. Two more quick tries in the dying moments of the game put the hosts out of sight at 32-13.
On Saturday, Helsby face West Park Warriors at home (2.30pm).