Another high scoring game at Molesey Road but this time Esher were not victorious.
Old Albanians started the match well and after retaining possession from the kick off they set up camp in Esher half. After 3 minutes played they registered their first try of the game from a well set driving maul which sucked in the Esher defence and their flyhalf exploited a gap in the defence to score. The conversion was missed from out wide 0-5.
This sparked the Esher team into life and within 5 minutes they had taken the lead. After some sustained pressure from the front 8, Esher span the ball into midfield where Stephan Boatman stepped the on rushing Old Albanians defence to put Tom Yellowlees in to score under the posts. The conversion was made and Esher led 7-5 with 9 minutes played.
In response Old Albanians went straight back on the attack and scored again from a well worked set piece. They through to the back of the lineout and work efficiently round the corner for their scrum half to step through a non-existent defence at the breakdown, the conversion was converted from under the posts and Old Albanians lead 7-12.
Straight from the kick off Esher retained possession and drew level from a swerving run from Stephen Boatman who scored in the corner but was unfortunate with the conversion. The score was level 12-12 after 17 minutes.
Esher’s positive play was coming from Stephen Boatman and Old Albanians started to target the young flyhalf so much so that after a late tackle they were reduced to 14 men. From the resulting successful penalty Esher led 15-12 just over halfway through the first half.
Even though Old Albanians were reduced to 14 they still went on the offensive and after some belligerent play from their forwards they crashed over for their third try of the game. The conversion was successful and they led 15-19.
In the later stages of the half Esher’s Tom James was yellow carded after tempers started to fray but the score remained 15-19 at half time.
In took Old Albanians a further 8 minutes to get their try scoring bonus point as they continued to pick and go with their forwards before put the ball through the hands stretching the Esher defensive line to score in the corner. The deficit increased to 15-26.
Again Esher’s response to going further behind was admiral as after 5 minutes of quick intense play they closed the gap, a well-timed looping pass from Stephen Boatman to Spencer Sutherland found a whole in the Old Albanians defence, and Spencer sprinted up field and drew in the fullback before releasing Thomas Whitehurst who scored his first try for Esher in the corner. The conversion was made, Esher 22-26 Old Albanians.
Old Albanians extended their lead with a penalty to 22-29 but this seemed to light a fire within the Esher team as they scored their forth try of the game. It was contrived via some hard 'smash mouth' rugby from Esher’s centres. The ball was taken up by Joe Brown, it was recycled quickly and Tom Cheeseman through a miss pass out to the wing were Joe Beckett was able to step the opposing winger to score in the corner. The conversion was Stephen Boatman fall short so Old Albanians still led 27-29 with 18 minutes left to play.
Now with Esher on the ascendancy and the crowd behind them were continued to attack and after a barn storming run from Tom Cheeseman the Old Albanians side committed a penalty at the ruck, unfortunately the kick drifted just wide and the score remained 27-29.
After this ‘close shave’ the momentum shifted and Old Albanians scored two quick tries and pretty much put the game beyond Esher. However the men in black and amber continued to some spirit and scored what was only a consolation try by Spencer Sutherland. Tom James break through the Old Albanians defence at halfway, with the Old Albanians scrambling to keep up he passed outside where the speedy winger come fullback Spencer raced home to score. The conversion was made by Stephen Boatman, and with that the final whistle blew. Esher 34-43 Old Albanians.
Tries: Tom Yellowlees, Stephen Boatman, Thomas Whitehurst, Joe Beckett, and Spencer Sutherland.
Conversions: Stephen Boatman (3)
Penalties: Stephen Boatman (1)