Rhys hails Chester's 'greatest achievement'

Reporter:

Tom Norris

Fly-half Rhys Hayes described Chester’s National League Three North title win as the greatest achievement in the club’s history.

Nic Corrigan’s men knew that a bonus-point success over Rossendale would hand them the league crown and Chester duly obliged as they ran out 51-20 victors in front of a crowd of around 1000 people.

Rhys Hayes was joined on the scoresheet by brother Lloyd, who crossed the whitewash twice, Pete Reece (2), James Whitelock-Wainwright, Tom Evans and a penalty try.

Chester didn’t have it all their own way during the 80 minutes and it wasn’t until the last quarter that they were able to pull away from Rossendale and secure promotion.

“Our victory made us champions and it is the greatest achievement in Chester RUFC history,” declared Rhys Hayes, who continued: “The game started fast when Lloyd made a half break who offloaded it to me and ran in the first try.

“Both teams exchanged points up to half time and it wasn't until the last 20 minutes until we took control of the game.

“The tries came from fast, open rugby, with chester demonstrating great handling skills from forwards and.backs.

“The atmosphere was also unreal.”

For Rhys and Lloyd, who grew up in Sychdyn, it was an emotional moment with the latter leaving Chester to pursue a professional career with Rotherham Titans.

Lloyd crossed for the final try of the game and became the highest try scorer for a single season in Chester’s history with 31.

And brother Rhys said: “It was farewell for Lloyd. It was also fitting for him to score the final try of the game.

“I am very proud and wish him all the luck with his bright future.”

Chester head coach Corrigan took to Twitter to thank those that made his side’s title success possible.

He wrote: “Thank you. We did it @ChesterRUFC wish @Harrogate_Rugby all the best for next week & Sandal two very well prepared teams. Great season.”

Harrogate, would have taken advantage of any slip-up by Chester as they came away from Billingham with a 38-22 success, remained gracious in their title race defeat.

They praised Chester on their Twitter feed, writing: “Congratulations to Chester #nat3n Champions. Harrogate into the playoffs against Sutton Coldfield. Commiserations to Sandal, good challenge.”

Sandal finished third, four points behind the eventual winners thanks to a resounding 122-5 triumph over Bradford & Bingley.

Birkenhead Park beat Wes Hartlepool 18-5, Burnage whitewashed Kendal 47-0, Lymm defeated Waterloo 33-29 and Percy Park clinched a hard fought 47-32 victory over Penrith.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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