On a beautiful, late spring day, under unrelenting sun, the Esher Golden Lions headed to Bury St. Edmunds in positive spirits, despite being handed a difficult draw.
Esher’s newly named team were in a tough Elite Pool with Leicester Tigers, Apache and GB Students. Due to illnesses Esher had only a squad of 8 to choose from instead of the normal 12. However the 8 fought valiantly against some well drilled sides.
As Esher’s Golden Lions took to the field the commentator announced the new kit as “Vibrant”. First up were the GB Students, who were entirely Welsh based. The first 5 minutes saw Esher under immense pressure and their defence was resolute. However after wave and wave of attack the GB students broke through and scored. Shortly afterwards they breached the Esher defence again and Esher were 12-0 down.
As the first half drew to a close Esher’s first attack proved lethal as Alex Davolls raced away from halfway and close the gap to 12-5 at halftime. The second half saw the GB students continue their dominance of possession and they won by 24-12.
Just after the midday sun Esher’s Golden Lions took on the Apache. The Apache were looking for revenge after their defeat to the Tigers in their first match. Again Esher’s Golden Lions were under the cosh from the kick off and although the defence was good it was only a matter of time before the Apache scored. At half time the Esher’s Golden Lions were 14-0. The second half was much of the same, Esher’s 8 men fought bravely and scored a try and ultimately drew the second half 5-5 but with the final whistle Esher had lost their second game.
Apache 19-5 Esher.
The final game of Esher’s Golden Lions tournament came against the Leicester Tigers. The Tigers had brought their Academy to the tournament and were looking strong at the breakdown. Esher’s Golden Lions needed to win by 30 points to stand a chance of going through and putting the Tigers out of the tournament. The Pride’s 8, were still gamely playing on, however fatigue was setting in. Due to the numerical advantage in terms of replacements the Tigers were hotly fancied to go through. After the first 4 minutes Esher’s Golden Lions were enjoying some possession but it was slow ball and they were always having to play from deep. The Tigers drew first blood and at half time Esher’s Golden Lions had failed to score a point.
The second half saw Esher put together some good rugby and they were rewarded with a try just after the restart by Jay Udo! The Tigers continued to work well at the breakdown and quickly re-affirmed their lead. The final play of the match saw Esher’s Golden Lions score their try of the tournament after some beautiful work by Jack Cooke, at full time the Tigers had won the “match up of the Big Cats” by 27-12.
Esher’s Golden Lions had scored in every match, it was a brave performance by the 8 Lions, and they showed glimpses of greatness