Chester vs Wharfedale 1st XV – Match Preview

Research shows that there was a Rugby club in Chester in the 1880s and apparently there was a game between Chester and New Brighton in 1879-80, but the Club later disbanded. The ‘new’ Chester RUFC was formed in 1925 at the Chester YMCA.

In 1932 the Club moved to rented facilities at Boughton Hall, as tenants of the Cricket Club, where they stayed for almost 30 years until the ground at Hare Lane , Vicars Cross was purchased and the Club moved there in 1961. Rugby blossomed in the sixties and seventies with a fixture list including some of the then top clubs in the North and many players awarded county honours. The eighties was a quiet period for the Club, with playing strength less than before and the fixture list suffering as a result.

The introduction of league rugby, however, revitalized rugby and started a new era. In 1994 a new clubhouse was built. In 1998 Chester were promoted from North West 1 to North 2 and in 2000 another promotion to North 1. A steady climb saw them promoted to National 2 North in 2013. This season they lie in 9th place with 50 points.

Wharfedale won the home match against Chester back in November and this is what coach Feeley said after that game “Our attitude and effort today were excellent. We focused on being more organised in our approach during the week and I felt it paid off. Discipline was the key word at half time and I believe we showed that through our kicking and communication with the officials. Collectively we worked better and were more connected in our defence which our defence coach will be really pleased with. At key moments individuals also made big plays; Josh Burridge at the lineout, Rian Hamilton’s clinical finish and Jack Pinder turning over ball. Tom Davidson deserves singling out for kicking the 10-point margin in tough conditions. Into the wind in the first half, he landed 2 conversions which took significant skill, that is achieved through relentless practise and reflects the attitude of this squad”.

This is the Wharfedale that must turn up at Chester on Saturday. I take the faithful back to January when we had to endure a turgid game at home against Sheffield Tigers. It took a massive leap of faith the next week to travel to Sedgley Park but what a game we witnessed – so please get down the M56 and cheer the lads on. It promises to be a pleasant warm afternoon.

Address for SatNavs – Chester RUFC, Hare Lane, Littleton, Chester, Cheshire CH3 7DB

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