Chester’s precision blows a brave Trafford away.
Trafford had a long Christmas break, without a game in nearly a month and were jolted into action by a table topping Chester side on a wet Mac Pherson Park pitch.
MV reacted well showing wholehearted commitment against a classy visiting outfit. Again Trafford dominated possession against a team from the higher reaches of North West rugby, with a strong forwards display cutting the supply lines to Chester’s backs to produce a balanced contest with defences dominating for long stretches. But ultimately Chester, with the little space they were afforded, had the firepower to hurt Trafford when it mattered.
Chester took the lead early with a high kick causing the fumble in the Trafford defence for a score – ugly from Trafford at this level, but Chester made the most of it and the conversion was struck well to deliver the 0-7 lead.
Then it was all Trafford – the backs rumbling on and drawing a series of penalties from the retreating Chester defence. Line outs ensued and Trafford progressed to the Chester try line. But this Chester team have guile and stature – they repelled drive after drive from Trafford who kept their possession very tight with first man attack time and time again. Chester clear after dogged tackling on their line.
Trafford come back and this time the brute will of Trafford wears down the Chester defensive line with Ethan crashing through to secure the unconverted try. 5-7.
All Trafford now – they come back from the kick off. Same game – tight play, hard yards. Line outs secured and strong in the scrum from Trafford rattles Chester here who lose a bit of composure with penalties conceded and a man sent to the sin bin. Trafford have their chance to press before half time – but too predictable in attack and Chester’s defence stand rock solid again to defy the battering ram that is the Trafford forward artillery.
This pressure should have yielded the score to take Trafford in at half time ahead. But no. Then the move that calls the game – Trafford are pushed back by the Chester clearances and clear themselves with a kick to midfield, Chester’s Christophe collects the high ball and with poise and balance defying the uncertain ground conditions steps three MV challenges to score the try.
A piece of great skill and directness to shatter the Trafford momentum. No conversion – the half time whistle blows. 5-12.
Trafford moved to brush off the disappointment of the blow before half time as they restarted the game – again they were back at Chester, the forwards back at the coalface – gaining territory and drawing the penalties. Progress was made as Ross slotted home a three-point chance in front of the posts for 8-12. Chester back in sight now.
But Chester calmed it all down, a good side playing the percentages, the forwards working in bursts of effort which delivered the platform for the talented back line. MV’s discipline wobbles and Trafford are down to fourteen after a clumsy tackle. Chester break down the wing and exploit the space. Greg covers across for a magnificent try saving tackle, but Chester are on the front foot here as Trafford start to concede penalties as they tire through relentless effort.
Chester keep the pressure on as team changes are made, they have it under control as the match draws to a close – for once they can play to their team strength with ball through the hands to create the chance and they score in the corner. A well taken unconverted score to deliver the 7-18 win.
Final score 8-17.
Brave, preserving, strong Trafford win the plaudits again, but the canny, nimble and gallant Chester have the skill to penetrate defences when it matters and the resilience to see off the bludgeoning forwards attacks from the opposition in the unwelcoming sodden conditions.
Well done to both sets of lads for a game played in a first-class spirit, particular mention to our referee who kept everyone in line through an excellent authoritative performance and to the Trafford “ground staff” who managed to get the game on despite the days of down pour that preceded the Sunday.
Trafford move on again – heads held high – but unfortunately with another defeat on the board. They will need to convert all this pressure, possession and territory into points as three key games are ahead as we move towards the end of the league season.
These matches will dictate MV’s standing in the North West’s pre-eminent Junior Colts competition. Trafford are a very good side – they deserve to convert the close encounters into wins. The foundation is certainly there, time to build on it and get the score-board moving.
Trafford MV Man Of The Match: Luke Cox
Report by Adrian