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Depleted Otley run Chester close
Otley 27 Chester 41
With eight of their squad side-lined, it was not surprising that Otley took a while to settle.
But they responded to a first-minute penalty from Rhys Hayes – when the hosts had fallen offside after failing to collect the kick-off – with a fine try from a line-out. When winger James Wood was held, the forwards took control, hooker Ben Steele going over and Mark Ireland converting.
Newly-promoted Chester were full of running and they quickly replied with a try from centre Richard Varkulis, only to lose the lead when centre Chris Gemmell, appearing on the wing, raced in for Ireland to convert.
The lead changed hands ten times as No 7 Michael Caven was driven over from a five-metre line-out, Hayes adding the conversion.
Hayes kicked another penalty but, on the half-time whistle, Otley were awarded a third penalty when No 8 Dave Ford was sent to the sin-bin.
There was only time to kick at goal, Ireland succeeding from far out to secure an interval lead.
Being a man short did not inhibit Chester, Varkulis scoring from the restart and Hayes converting.
Otley hit back when full back Arnold Ellison went in at the corner, Ireland adding the conversion, but Hayes, with a drop-goal and a 75th minute penalty, made sure Otley got just one point.
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