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Home > News > South bogged down as Chester narrowly take the spoils
Your News South bogged down as Chester narrowly take the spoils

South welcomed free scoring Chester to Welford Road determined to avenge that awful day back in November. Resplendent in their new strip, South fielded the same team that had performed so heroically last week at Luctonians with Wes Cartwright and Richard Bailey returning to the bench.

Again, like last week, the game started brightly for South with good ground being made from their driving close quarter play and penetrative runs in the centre from Keiron Collins and Tom Armstrong. Full back Rich Lang defied the clinging conditions to take the game to Chester after fielding some speculative kicks out of defence. Chester countered by trying to move the ball wide at every opportunity, but it wasn't a day for expansive rugby due the energy sapping conditions courtesy of the appalling muddy pitch.

Chester could have opened the scoring as early as the 3rd minute, but Frank Lynch pulled his penalty attempt wide. South were in the ascendency throughout the first half, but failed to turn the pressure into points on numerous visits to the Chester 22. Both teams failed to adapt to the poor underfoot conditions, with both passing and kicking the mud heavy ball accurately, being very difficult. South also lost Lock Jim Matthews to a bang on the head replaced by prop Rich James and a little rejigging in the pack.

Agains't the run of play and 6 minutes into injury time ( where the referee found such a long injury time from is debatable) South fell to the sucker punch as Chester put together their only creative move of the half and scored courtesy of fly half Ben Foden wide left of the posts. Lynch's conversion went wide of the target.

The second Half started badly for South as Lynch added a penalty to extend Chester's lead as it became one way traffic from the away side who battered away at the South line. Continual Chester attacks were rebuffed by the combative South defence, but equally any South break outs and kick aheads were dealt with effectively by the Chester defence. Kris McFredries put a great deal of pressure on his opposite number and saved South on a number of occasions by diving on the ball as it was forced out of possession and skidded along the ground. Chris Bale, Mike March, Dom Green and Rob Sands were prominent in defence with Sam Badham taking some valuable possession from the line out, Both teams resorted to using their bench to add fresh legs to the contest, but the score stayed the same. Stalemate was the order of the day, although South, belatedly, put together some storming attacks at the very end with Keiron Collins being forced into touch marginally short of the Chester line.

In the closing stages it was very difficult to make out which team was which due to the all enveloping mud. The conditions dominated the game and South were disappointed not to repeat the result of last week. The intensity has returned, but we still need to find the composure in order to score more tries on successive visits to the opposition's 22 metre area. As yesterday proved South cannot rely on Mark Lord's boot to regular glean points as we weren't awarded any kickable penalties (aka Peterborough at home). The conditions would have probably negated that threat too.

Team: Lang (Bailey), Thomas, Armstrong, Collins, Nicholson, Lord, McFredries, Bale, Matthews (James), Badham, Bayley, Green Dom, Harris (Cartwright).

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