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Match report
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Esher claim fifth win in style

Esher vs Fylde

Match Report, Saturday 25th November 2017 (by Philip Wigley)

Esher claimed their fifth win of the season at Molesey Road on Saturday, running in eight tries to two in a convincing 50-12 bonus point victory over visitors Fylde.

On a bitterly cold late November afternoon, it was the home side who started the game at a furious pace, securing the ball from the kick-off and dominating the opening exchanges against a Fylde team who have endured a difficult start to the season.  The pressure from the hosts was relentless in the first few minutes, and following a passage of play in which the ball refused to go dead, the Fylde defence was eventually breached when fly-half Stephen Boatman raced through a gap to score from around 10 metres out.  Boatman converted his own try to make the score Esher 7 Fylde 0 after 7 minutes.

Three minutes later, Esher were back on the scoresheet again when winger Kariym Irving was on hand to finish a sweeping move from the home team.  A sharp break down the right-hand touchline from full-back Callum Monks found centre Dan Rowland in support, who took the ball at pace and charged forward before being brought down just short of the line.  From the ensuing ruck, the ball was worked quickly back infield to Rowland’s centre partner, Joe Brown.  With the visiting defence sliding across to cover the left flank, Brown sensed an opportunity and placed a delicate cross-field chip behind the Fylde backs.  Irving read the kick well, and stole in ahead of the last man to ground the ball over the line.  Stephen Boatman added the conversion, to take the score to Esher 14 Fylde 0.

The Esher forwards and backs were combining well now to stretch the visitor’s defence, and two more tries soon followed.  After some quick thinking from scrum-half Andy Garner to change the direction of play at a ruck on the Fylde try line, hooker Billy Harding dived over to score from close range, and Esher promptly wrapped up their bonus point try in the 20th minute when Callum Monks showed good pace to score in the right-hand corner.  Both conversions were unsuccessful, leaving the score at Esher 24-Fylde 0.

Fylde then went on to enjoy their best spell of the match so far, retaining possession for long periods of time, and testing the home defence with some strong carries from the back row and quick hands down the line.  Esher’s defence was well organised however, and when the ball was finally turned over the home pack launched a driving maul from a line-out inside the Fylde half.  As the forwards rumbled towards the line, Billy Harding spotted a gap and broke away to score his second try of the afternoon in the 33rd minute.  Boatman added the conversion to take the half-time score to Esher 31 – Fylde 0.

Any thoughts of a comeback from the visitors were quickly dispelled in the first minute of the second half, when Stephen Boatman intercepted a pass in the Fylde 22 to run in and score under the posts.  Boatman duly added the extras to take the score to Esher 38 – Fylde 0.

The game became disjointed for the next 10 minutes as both sides sought to assert themselves, but it was Fylde who came up with the next score through a fine individual effort from scrum-half Mike Gregory.  Taking the ball deep in his own 22, Gregory jinked past the first man before accelerating down the touchline to score in the left-hand corner.  The conversion was wide, leaving the score at Esher 38 – Fylde 5 after 53 minutes.

Esher responded in the 65th minute, when prop Karl Furey came up with the ball to score after another driving maul from the home forwards.  Boatman added the extras to take the score to Esher 45 – Fylde 5.

The visitors continued to press forward, and their spirit and determination was duly rewarded when replacement Luke Fowden dived over to score in the 71st minute.  Danny Carlton added the conversion to take the score to Esher 45 – Fylde 12.

It was Esher who had the final say however, when wing Kariym Irving capped a dominant display from the home side by scoring with the last play of the match.  Taking a dipping pass off his boots, Irving spun out of the first tackle before sprinting past the covering defence to score in the corner.  The conversion from the touchline was just wide, leaving the final score at Esher 50 – Fylde 12.

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