Five tries, Five Try Scorers, 5 points, Esher start to climb the table after battling back from a first half which was wholly forgettable.
The first started quietly with both teams testing each other’s defensive capabilities without either team finding their rhythm. Esher stuck first with a penalty from Stephen Boatman back starting at fly half in replace of James Lang, 3-0 after 7 minutes.
Esher then mounted their only sustained level of pressure in the first half and were rewarded with a smartly taken try from Gabriel Ibitoye. After eight phases of possession where Esher attacked from left to right spaces began to open and Andrew Garner through a pass out wide to Gabriel who picked it up from his toes to run in from ten metres out. The conversion was unsuccessful from Stephen Boatman and the score line read 8-0 with 17 minutes gone.
After opening up a lead Esher’s attack stumbled and stuttered, with passes going astray and multiple knock on’s. The breakdown was being bossed by an industrious Cambridge side which fought their way back into the game with two tries and a penalty. Their first of the game came from a simple lineout move and their second from Esher attempting to run from their own in goal area to be turned over. Cambridge found themselves deservedly in front 8-17 with 7 minutes left in the half.
Against the run of play Esher closed the gap to two points, as they scored from an initial lineout drive and then some smart work from Andrew Garner put Ollie Marriott in to score. Stephen Boatman converted and at half time Esher trailed Cambridge 15-20.
After the break Esher came out a completely different side, within a minute Esher had closed the gap with another Stephen Boatman penalty to 18-20.
Esher now with their gander up were beginning to make their passes and plays stick. After some sustained pressure Cambridge were reduced to 14 men via a yellow card offence. This gave Esher more belief and their forwards started to gain dominance. After a few re-set scrums Peter Synnott drove off the base of the scrum, the ball was recycled quickly in field and Cameron Gentles scored underneath the posts. He third try in as many matches. Stephen Boatman duly converted and Esher led 25-20 with 10 minutes gone in the second half.
Esher continued to attack as the momentum of the game had certainly swung in their favour, and the score two tries in quick succession. The first came from some intelligent play by Neil Sweeney who found himself out on the wing, he kicked the ball into the Cambridge 22 where they attempted to exit but the clearance kick was charged down by Joe Beckett, the ball fell into Charlie Gossington’s hands, he passed outside to Joe Beckett who drew in the Cambridge winger and passed to Archie White to score his first Esher try in the corner. The conversion was narrowly missed.
After claiming the assist with Archie White’s try, Joe Beckett, then scored on his first team debut. Esher won a turn over in their own half and with an excellent break Gabriel Ibitoye stormed into the Cambridge half, the ball went through the hands as the Cambridge defence were scrambling to withhold the Esher tide, the ball was passed to Karl Furey who shipped the ball on to Joe Beckett who ran in from 20 metres out to score. The conversion was successful by Stephen Boatman and with 15 minutes left Esher led by 37-20.
A spirited Cambridge side now went on the attack to attempt to salvage something from their hard work and endeavour. They scored two further tries which were sandwiched between another Stephen Boatman penalty as they earned the try scoring bonus. Esher held on to win 40-32.
By Simon Clemmey, First XV Manager)
Tries: Ibitoye, Marriott, Gentles, White, Beckett
Conversions: Boatman (3)
Penalties: Boatman (3)