A good, workmanlike win away at play off chasing Chester RFC, cemented a highly successful season.
Make no mistake, Chester RFC definitely fancied their chances in this final league game of the season and why wouldn’t they, as their home form has been very good, with only two defeats at their HQ. In addition, there was the chance, if Rossendale RFC had slipped up at Waterloo RFC, that they could have clinched a play-off spot away at Dudley Kingswinford.
However, from a DMPRFC perspective, regardless of the league title in the bag, the fact that Chester RFC had beaten them in a close game at Yiewsley Drive in the league opener, was always going to be plenty incentive to want to prevail.
A good crowd witnessed a very tight affair from a score perspective, however, DMPRFC should have done a lot better with the amount of possession they secured and had additional points from a dubious ‘foot in touch’ call from the home referee’s assistant, as Zylon McGAFFIN was prevented from registering a legitimate try.
It was Chester RFC who registered the first points of the afternoon, with a well taken penalty after seven minutes of play (3 – 0), after the visitors had transgressed offside in midfield.
DMPRFC fly half Tom Hodgson replied in kind three minutes later, as the home side was adjudged by the official to have similarly offended (3 – 3).
Both teams started well and tried to play the open, expansive game to which they are both renown, but it was always in the pack where the game would we won and in this facet, DMPRFC seemed to have the edge.
The battle of the back rows was also a key area of confrontation, with arguably two of the best no. 7’s in the league, going head to head in Andy Moore for Chester RFC and Luke WISHNOWSKY for DMPRFC. Obviously a matter of opinion, but it may be that DMPRFC won that confrontation.
On twenty two minutes, a Chester prop was yellow carded after he mistook the game of rugby that it was for something that was more accustomed in MMA, as his over use of the forearm smash was not to the liking of the official. Chester re-shuffled and withdrew a back row to send on a replacement prop and did well to see the remaining ten minutes, as DMPRFC tried to make the advantage pay.
Prior to oranges, DMPRFC began to take a stranglehold on proceedings, resulting in a try for lock Chris Campbell, after some pick and drives from his colleagues in the pack (3 – 8).
Chester defended well and when they did run out of defence, their backs always looked dangerous.
At the interval, DMPRFC would have been pleased with the half, having had the better of it, but with little to show on the scoreboard for it, a better second half was required to subdue a game Chester.
The second half followed a similar pattern to before the interval, with both sides hammering away at each other and potential scoring opportunities missed, mainly through good last man defence.
Tom Hodgson was successful with another penalty (3 – 11), before LOCK Tom SCHOFIELD seemed to put the game out of the reach of the home side with a try on sixty minutes (3 – 16), after some good interplay between the visiting forwards and backs.
Chester were still in the game though and it was no surprise when they score a decent try themselves on sixty seven minutes(8 – 16), with the scorer cutting a line through the DMPRFC defence.
DMPRFC should have increased their lead, but the referee’s assistant (who happened to be a Chester player not selected/injured for the game) intervened and hauled back Zylon McGAFFIN for a foot in touch.
Chester threatened right to the end, but couldn’t add to their scoring and DMPRFC saw out the game.
All in all, a game DMPRFC deserved to win, which made the satisfaction of having beaten everyone in the league at least once all the more enjoyable.
The team stayed over in Chester for a well earned celebration of the league win and overall title and this was spent sight-seeing, visiting local places of interest, a ‘tea-dance’ and brass rubbing collages collected at a local church. Nice place Chester !