CHESTER showed they have the stomach for the National Division Two title fight after a thrilling 26-all draw at Stourbridge.

An early try Llyr Griffiths try was converted by Gareth Simpson to hand the hosts a 7-0 lead.

Chester responded swiftly and were level within three minutes after Tom Foden strolled through the hosts’ defence and James Robbins converted.

Two tries in quick succession from Dan Rundle restored Stour’s advantage, before impressive number 8 Shay Owen, capitalised from a Chester scrum five metres out to reduce arrears to 19-12 at half time.

Stourbride took just three minutes from the restart to secure a bonus point when Hal Riley collected the ball after a scrum and crossed for a converted score.

Again it was Owen who kept Chester in touch with a try after dinking inside from wide when the ball was fed out from a drive deep in Stour territory, Callum Bennett got the conversion.

On 75 minutes a lengthy spell on the Chester line appeared to have ended in a Stour try but match referee Phil Davies, who was knocked to the ground in an accidental collision with a Chester player in the build-up, indicated no score after being unable to see the grounding of the ball.

The hosts pain was doubled late on when Chester broke forward from deep and Mike Craven scored from a rolling maul in the 39th minute.

With the final action of the game, Josh Morris held his nerve to add the extras as Chester moved level on points with league leaders Hull Ionians, who beat Fylde 34-22.

Head coach Jan Van Deventer said: “All credit to the players for the way they kept fighting to get back in the game. Once again they’ve showed great resilience and character when they were under the cosh against a really physical Stourbridge side.

“They will obviously feel hard done by, but I felt like the referee struggled with a very vocal home crowd and got a few big decisions wrong in the game.

“But from our point of view, taking three points away from home feels like a win and it keeps us right in the hunt.”