Chester 10, Otley 8

Glorious sunshine was just what the doctor ordered after travelling through a monsoon-like downpour.

However, the drawback was that the extremely muddy pitch was left in its wake, which made running and ball-handling a lottery.

Chester made much of using big men - usually lock John Mackenzie or former Otley player Guy Ford at No 8 - as crash-ball runners but they were held in check by a solid Otley defence.

And it was the visitors, with the strong wind at their backs, who made the early running, scrum half Stephen Depledge kicking an early penalty, and it was 13 minutes before Chester crossed the halfway line.

The forwards were having a real set-to but both sets of backs ran the ball at every opportunity.

Otley took advantage from a scrum on the home 22, where quick passing gave winger Nazir Karim a one-on-one, which he resolved by running straight through his opposite number to the corner, while just before half-time a fine chip was knocked on just short of the line.

After the changeover, Chester soon showed their intentions, kicking for their forwards and it took them just four minutes to maul Otley back to their own line, where Mackenzie broke off to score.

Twelve minutes later, after a number of penalties that were taken as a scrum, they finally drove the required five minutes for referee Claire Hodnett to award a try to Ford.

Otley were in no way subdued and produced the best rugby of the afternoon, a sweeping attack ending with a penalty at the tackle near the home line, and another followed for crossing - but the conditions won, with Otley again left a couple of points adrift.