Seghill lose out in tight game to Chester-le-Street

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IT was a close encounter when Seghill played Chester-le-Street met back in October at Welfare Park, the home side clinching a narrow four-point victory.

Right from the outset of Saturday’s return fixture it was clear this game at the Riverside was going to be no different.

Seghill had made late changes to their line up, with injury to scrum-half Jonny Heppworth, and losing centre Liam Lonsdale to illness.

Paul Latham moved from the wing to take over Heppworth’s duties, with Dan Avis taking his place on the wing, while Lonsdale was replaced by Mal Welch.

Both sides attempted to move the ball around but were unable to create any real chances until late in the half.

Chester indiscipline saw Seghill rewarded with a number of penalties, but both Matthew Sherman and Jake Armstrong were unable to get the scoreboard moving.

The home side hit back with two try scoring chances but were stopped short, firstly by full-back Frazer Hill and then winger Nick Heard.

With Seghill back on the attack, Sherman was stopped by a high tackle, and with the final kick of the half, he slotted over the penalty for a 3-0 lead at the break.

Seghill were caught napping in the opening seconds of the second half, with the Chester scrum-half bursting through for the first of three tries.

A second try followed five minutes later, as the game burst into life with some end to end rugby.

Andrew Stephenson replaced James Shaw at flanker, and scored with his first touch of the game.

He was backing up a Gavin Burgess run, and when Burgess was stopped inches short of the line, Stephenson scooped the ball up and over the line for a try.

Armstrong added the conversion with a beautiful kick from a narrow angle.

Chester looked to hit back straight away and a try in the right corner looked a certainty until a tackle by Heard, right on the line, took the winger into touch.

On the 70 minute mark, Chester extended their lead with another try, but Seghill hit straight back.

When Rick Monaghan’s run was stopped he offloaded to Heard who dived over to score.

Almost immediately, Chester scored again and looked to have put the game beyond Seghill’s reach.

However, the visitors were not done, and in overtime, Avis took the ball down the right wing and John Dugan was there to score.

Armstrong added the conversion to take his points tally past 100 for the season, and ensured a well deserved bonus point.