LUCTONIANS suffered a frustrating start to 2022 when they fell to a 18-13 defeat away at Chester.

Lucs had approached the game with a great deal of optimism on the back of their pre-Christmas victory over high-flying Stourbridge.

The Herefordshire men looked as though they were still in 2021 in the opening exchanges of the game, as Chester scored an unconverted try in the first two minutes out wide through winger Iwan Phillips, after some very soft defence.

Awoken after their poor start Luctonians began to play and dominate in the tight exchanges of lineout and scrum, but failed to capitalise on opportunities.

Chester were rewarded for their staunch defensive effort as they went down the other end again and drove over from a five-metre lineout to lead 12-0 after 20 minutes.

The boys in black and white continued to gain ascendancy at set piece and this platform allowed them to build pressure for long enough to allow Owien Harriott-Davies to set up his second row partner Tom Smith for an excellent try, Tom Jones with the conversion for a 12-7 score at half-time.

Buoyed by their opening try the visitors began the second period with the breeze on their backs and the boot of their fly half Jones, allowed Lucs to get the better of territory and possession.

However, inaccuracy, particularly at the lineout, began to stunt Lucs from building the pressure required to provide points and Chester were able to convert two penalties in the space of five minutes through Liam Reeve, to take an 18-7 lead, with just over a quarter of the game to go. This sharpened the focus of the Herefordshire men, and Jones hit back with his own brace of penalties pulling Lucs within a score, with 10 minutes to go.

The final throws of the game were spent in Chester’s half, with Luctonians now looking dangerous.

However, lineout inaccuracy continued to stutter momentum, but in the last play of the game Lucs repeatedly pressured at Chester’s line, only for the final whistle to blow with a Luctonian' forward held up in goal.

Chester stuck at the task manfully and deserved the win for making the most of their limited opportunities, but Lucs will come away from this fixture wondering how they did not turn superiority in many areas into an away league win.

The Herefordshire men are back at Mortimer Park this weekend as they host fellow mid-table outfit Tynedale.