Despite a bright start, Chester Gladiators suffered a disappointing 60-24 defeat against Eccleston Lions in North West Men's League Division Three.

Chester made a strong opening to the contest and twice led during an entertaining first quarter of an hour as Mark Kingsley waltzed past defenders to touch down for the game's first score and, after the visitors had levelled, Dylan Rowe sliced through a gap to put the home side 12-6 in front.

The early signs were promising with the Gladiators moving the ball with confidence and looking assured in defence, however things soon took a turn for the worse as the Lions dominated the next 25 minutes to turn the match on its head.

Eccleston ran in five tries without response, punishing a series of defensive mistakes from an out-of-sorts Chester side as the St Helens outfit took a commanding 34-12 lead.

The Gladiators replied in the closing moments of the first half with teenage debutant Ollie Nicholson sniping between defenders from close range for an excellent score to cap an impressive first appearance from the rookie.

Chester looked to have put their troubles behind them following the restart as veteran prop Chris Young collected an offload and slammed the ball down to cut the cap to 10 points and bring his team to 24-34 on the scoreboard, however that was as good as it got for the hosts.

Eccleston once more took control of matters and ran in a further five unanswered tries, exposing the frailties in the Gladiators defence to run out comfortable winners.

Coach Paul Foster said: "We're disappointed and to be honest it was a strange game.In spells we looked really good and dangerous with the ball, and then at other times we looked lost.

"The team is still developing and this was probably a little reminder of where we are at but there were still positives, particularly in the way we started the game and in the performance of Ollie Nicholson who was outstanding on his first appearance."

It was a good weekend for Chester Gladiators juniors with two wins and a draw from three games.

The U11s recorded an excellent 34-10 win against Rochdale Cobras, finding a nice rugby groove throughout the game, showing some nice skills in attack and bringing the three-quarter line and wingers into action regularly with some expansive play. In defence, the Gladiators were more determined and their much improved line speed and pressure yielded some decent results.

Magic moments came from Isaac Heaword, who produced a smashing tackle to halt a Cobras roll, and Ben Turner who demonstrated another side to his game with a great draw and soft handed pass to his outside halves.

The U10s travelled to Newton Storm and celebrated a fine 30-14 victory.

There were eye catching debuts from Sam Owens, who scored two tries, and Nelson Misantoni. Theo MacAndrew and Nathan Critchley dominated in defence both making over 30 tackles each and controlling the opposition.

With a couple of regulars unavailable, this was a great result with Sam Owens and Nathan Critchley sharing the man of the match honours.

There was a fantastic game involving the U9s against Westhoughton Lions with lots of tries between two well-matched teams in a 56-56 draw.

It was an excellent performance all round with Thomas Davies continuing to impress with his desire to make metres with the ball in hand, solid contributions from Conrad Stevenson, Matthew Turner and Ruby Partington, and Elliot Shotton playing his first game of the season showed promise with good concentration and involvement in play.

Special mentions to debutants Millie King-Magee and Lewis Hawkins, who was deservedly named man of the for good defence, blistering pace and strong running in attack.