CHESTER rugby coach Jan Van Deventer says his title-chasing side’s fixture run-in is ‘as tough it gets’.

A superb National League North campaign sees second-placed Chester head into their final five games just a point adrift of the summit.

But with each of their remaining games coming against the league’s top seven sides, Van Deventer is acutely aware of the task at hand.

“It’s as tough it gets for sure”, he said.

“There’s so little between all these clubs who are all chasing the same two promotion places.

“The competition is fierce and I think it’s testament to the quality of the league that no single club is running away with the title this year.

“It’s going to right down to the wire with a lot still to be decided in the final weekend, I’m sure.”

Van Deventer hailed Chester’s latest victory, a 24-5 success at Wharfedale, as their best of the season to date.

The result came courtesy of two tries from influential number 8 Shay Owen, plus further effort from Macc Van Sertima and Alick Croft.

And Van Deventer believes that a ‘professional’ away day performance has instilled renewed belief among his squad.

He said: “There’s a real positive mindset among the players and confidence is high.

“I think that grinding out that result in the way we did showed that we’re not a one-dimensional side and that we can mix it up when we have to.

“It’s put us in a really positive place and the form of players like Shay has been a huge part of that.

“Shay’s been exceptional for us this season. He joined us as a centre, but we’ve moved him into the back row in the last few months and he’s been excellent both offensively and in the tackle.

“He’s one of a few guys who’ve really hit top form for us this season and long may it continue.”

Fresh from a two-week break, Chester return to action in a pivotal clash at third-placed Fylde on Saturday.

The Lancashire club are the only side to have beaten Chester at home this term and Van Deventer says the defeat will add fuel to the fire this weekend.

“Everyone knows the stakes are high for this one and both sides will be desperate to get on the right side of the result”, he added.

“The losing side won’t be out of the race by any means, but it will give us real momentum if we can come away from there with the points.

“The fact that Fylde took away our perfect home record only gives us more motivation to go up there and do that. We feel rested and in good shape now. The recovery week has allowed us to get over a few bumps and bruises and we should be taking a full-strength squad with us.”

Leaders Hull Ionians visit Otley, Leicester Lions host Tynedale, Stourbridge head to Sedgley Park, Hinckley go to Preston Grasshoppers, Huddersfield entertain South Leicester, Sheffield Tigers are at home to Wharfedale, and Peterborough visit Macclesfield.