Chester 36

Otley 17

DESPITE a second half rally, Otley could not overcome a 17-point half-time deficit in a National League Two North defeat at Chester on Saturday.

With Josh Hall coming into the scrum half position, and Rory MacNab making his debut at fly half, it was another spirited Otley performance against Chester.

The hosts, according to their captain Colin Campbell, had seen their home record fall to pieces over the winter, played some of the best rugby of the season.

Otley had an opportunity to take an early lead when Chester were penalised on their 10-metre line but the attempt sailed wide.

Chester opened their account on 13 minutes after their captain scored after a rolling maul was driven over, and this was followed by tries by Kyle Joseph and Tom Foden. Shay Owen converted the last two.

Otley spent the next 10 minutes in Chester’s half, their perseverance paying off when Ben Magee and Elliot Morgan combined to put Gavin Stead through – the centre converting his try on 32 minutes.

With Otley down to 14, the first half ended after hooker Scott Robson was driven over to make the score 24-7.

Robson was then back on the scoreboard seven minutes into the second half.

Otley’s fightback began when Magee set up Henry Roberts outside the home side's 22. Roberts then rounded their defence to score in the corner.

Buoyed by the points, Otley resumed forcing penalties out of Chester and were eventually held up over the line.

After another penalty scrum, Marco Dallavalle took the ball from the back to score.

Otley tried hard for a fourth try and two bonus points and with three minutes to go Chester were down to 14.

Otley moved the ball out to the left and back in again but knocked on at the crucial moment.

Chester cleared their lines and after a dubious misdemeanour in the line-out, Mark Dixon crushed Otley’s hearts with a late try the conversion bringing the game to an end.