CHESTER boss Jan Van Deventer admitted he ‘feared the worst’ in Chester’s hard-fought 27-22 victory over Stourbridge at Hare Lane.

With the agony of a last-gasp defeat at Hull Ionians still fresh in their memory, Chester almost let a 16-point lead slip in the contest before crossing for a late decisive try in the National League Two North clash.

Van Deventer said: “We were very much in control of the game after the first half performance and we didn’t look like we were going to let it slip.

“But Stourbridge are a strong side and have established themselves as genuine top four side in this league. They came back at us early in the second half and, with us picking up a couple of injuries around that time too, I started to fear the worst.

“ But I always felt we could find an extra gear and thankfully we’ve done that late on.It’s a big win that gets us back on track.”

The hosts went ahead early on as Craig Ross powered over the line for the opening try.

That five-point advantage was extended on 14 minutes when Guy Ford’s neat inside was gathered by Ed Morris who touched down before James Robbins converted.

Stourbridge fly-half Rickie Aley then kicked a penalty to reduce arrears, but dominant Chester replied before the interval through Robbins’ converted try to make it 19-3.

The visitors emerged with renewed purpose after the break, with hooker Sam Wilkes smashing his way over the Chester line for a converted score.

Another try followed soon after with Stourbridge wing Reece Beddows touching down to make it 19-15, though Chris Scott was wayward with his conversion attempt.

Chester boosted their tally with a further Robbins penalty, but the visitors levelled the scores through another Beddows try, with Scott adding the extras to make it 22-all.

But Chester would have the final say as replacement Macc Van Sertima burst clear to cross late on and keep his side in touch with league’s top four sides.

Leaders Hull won 41-29 at Fylde, Hinckley were hammered 43-8 at Huddersfield, Macclesfield beat Leicester Lions 35-24, Wharfedale won 22-19 at South Leicester, Sedgley Park edged out Peterborough Lions 31-29, Preston Grasshoppers beat Sheffield Tigers 38-33, while Otley beat Tynedale 32-17.