Chester struck a penalty with the last kick of the game to deny Ampthill an unlikely victory at Hare Lane on Saturday.
Amps began by kicking the ball out on the full which set the tone for much of the game, in which visitor turnovers were a repeated theme.
From the off the hosts showed more aggression in contact, more desire, more precision and better ball retention, especially in the loose where the visitors were frequently driven off their own ball in a manner not seen for years.
Chester dominated first half territory and possession; the first time Ampthill had control of the ball in the home 22 was in the 34th minute of the first half, which had been disrupted by a long break due to an injury to Amps’ leading try scorer, left wing Michael Di Ponio.
The hosts got over the gain line repeatedly in a manner not seen since the first quarter of the game at Sedgely Park.
Ampthill’s defence was stretched to the limit, leading to three home penalty goals and a yellow card.
However, the visitors held firm and no tries were conceded, leaving the score 9-0 at half-time.
With the wind behind them for the second half, Amps set out to restore some pride – first converting a penalty goal before a trademark catch and drive brought the game’s first try in the last quarter which went unconverted.
Chester extended their lead with another penalty goal before Ampthill’s best period of pressure saw repeated 5m scrums and lineouts and a succession of infringements by the hosts, leading to an unconverted try from full-back Karim Lynch – the only time that Ampthill led.
With just a couple of minutes remaining in the game the hosts, having been the superior team for most of the game, prevented an injustice when Amps infringed in front of the posts, leaving a simple but crucial penalty goal as the last act of an exciting second half.