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Esher back to winning ways..(Match report by Phil Wigley)

Esher vs Hull Ionians (By Phil Wigley)

Match Report, Saturday 27th January 2018


Esher got back to winning ways again on Saturday, running in six tries to four to secure a valuable 38-27 bonus point victory over Hull Ionians at a windswept Molesey Road.

After a tough trip to runaway league leaders Coventry the previous weekend, Esher got off to the perfect start when fly-half Paul Roberts hoisted a cross-field kick towards the left-hand corner in the second minute.  As the ball held up in the strong headwind, winger Tom James was on hand to take the catch and sprint away for the first try of the afternoon from just inside the Hull 22.  Roberts added the conversion to make the score Esher 7-Hull Ionians 0.


Hull came straight back at Esher from the restart, and following a spell of prolonged pressure were duly rewarded with a penalty in the 14th minute.  Fly-half Greg Lounds slotted the kick to score his side’s first points of the afternoon, but from that point it was the home side who took charge of proceedings for the next 20 minutes.

Having worked their way into the Hull 22 following a good spell of possession, the Esher forwards provided the platform for Paul Roberts to put in another perfectly weighted cross-field kick, this time towards the right-hand touchline.  With the visiting defence caught out by the quick thinking of Roberts, centre Chris Arnold was able to gather the ball and dive over to score unopposed in the corner.  The conversion went wide, leaving the score at Esher 12-Hull Ionians 3 after 24 minutes.

A third try quickly followed, when full-back Ben Loader finished off some neat interplay from the Esher backs.  Taking the ball from the base of a scrum on the half-way line, scrum-half Andy Garner made a darting break to the right before finding Ben Loader in support.  Loader quickly shipped the ball to wing Joe Beckett, who shaped as if to take on his man on the outside, before checking his run and passing back inside to Loader.  Seemingly boxed in with two men in front of him to beat, the Esher full-back put in a big hand-off and blasted through to leave the defenders in his wake and accelerate away to score under the posts.  Roberts added the extras to extend Esher’s lead to 19-3 in the 28th minute.

Esher brought up their bonus point try 5 minutes later, when second-row Hugo Seccombe charged down a kick midway inside the visitor’s half.  Chasing down his own effort, Seccombe pressured the covering defender into conceding possession, before scooping up the ball to put flanker Charlie Gossington over in the corner.  Roberts added the extras to take the score to Esher 26-Hull Ionians 3.

The visitors fought their way back into the game however, and following a succession of penalties soon found their way into the Esher 22.  Launching a series of drives and carries towards the Esher try line, Hull went close on several occasions, but the home defence held firm until the 39th minute when a driving maul sent second-row James Newman over to score to the left of the posts.  Lounds added the conversion to make the half-time score Esher 26-Hull Ionians 10.

An error strewn start to the second-half from the home side allowed Hull to regain possession and work their way into Esher territory, resulting in another spell of pressure from the visitors which was eventually rewarded when winger Sam Rees finished off a well-worked move in the corner.  The conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score at Esher 26-Hull Ionians 15 after 51 minutes.

After recent results, the home supporters may have been fearing the worst while watching their lead being gradually eroded, but the Esher players responded well with their fifth try of the day 3 minutes later, when Andy Garner picked up a loose ball to score in the right-hand corner.  The conversion from the touchline went wide, to leave the score at Esher 31-Hull Ionians 15.

Esher then extended their lead in the 72nd minute, when Hugo Seccombe charged over to score their sixth try of the game following more good work from the backs.  A sharp break on the half-way line by Stephen Boatman found Andy Garner in support, who continued the move with a mazy run before offloading to Tom James on his right.  Racing forward, James was brought down just short of the line but Hugo Seccombe was on hand to pick up the ball and beat the last defender to score beside the posts.  Boatman added the conversion to increase Esher’s lead to 23 points with around 7 minutes to play.

With the result now looking to be secure, Hull refused to lie down and continued to press forward in search of a further score.  The visitors enjoyed another spell of pressure in the Esher half, but the danger appeared to have been averted when the home side turned over possession and launched a booming kick into the Hull 22.  However, collecting the ball from deep within his own half, Hull winger Sam Wilson showed good strength and pace to evade the Esher defence, running nearly the length of the field before being brought down just short of the try line and eventually bundled into touch.  From the resulting lineout, Esher failed to find their man and presented flanker James Sanderson with the simple chance to catch the ball and dive over to score in the 75th minute.  The conversion drifted wide of the posts.

Four minutes later, Hull scored again when wing Sam Rees finished off a free flowing move in the left-hand corner to score his second try of the afternoon and earn his side a fourth try bonus point for their efforts.  Lound added a tricky conversion from the touchline, bringing the score to Esher 38-Hull Ionians 27 after 79 minutes. 

With just enough time on the clock to resume the game, Esher regained possession from the restart and when the referee signalled that time was up, Andy Garner gratefully punted the ball into touch to seal a well-earned and potentially vital bonus point win.




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