By Alex Lambe @rugby_lambo214
After a last gasp victory against Fylde last weekend Esher was keen to put in a solid performance against Loughborough to keep up with Doncaster at the top of the table.
The opening exchanges showed that both sides were willing to run the ball down the wider channels. Both sides put together some good phases of play but the final pass went astray with neither team capitalising on their opportunities.
Eventually the first try of the game was scored by Esher number eight Mike Macfarlane who crashed over from close range after neat build up play. Luke Daniels converted for a 7-0 lead after 28 minutes.
Esher was beginning to build the phases together and Mike Macfarlane soon scored his 2nd try of the match as he went over the whitewash off the base of a powerful scrum from the visitors. Daniels converted once more to take the lead out to 14-0 after 35 minutes.
The Esher forwards were beginning to dominate the set play and Esher soon scored their 3rd try of the afternoon as winger Ashley Smith intercepted on the 10m line before sprinting 60 metres and handing off the last defender to score. Daniels couldn’t convert this time but Esher led 19-0 after 38 minutes.
However Loughborough hit back just before the break as nippy full-back Jack Pons spotted a gap in the Esher defence before racing over to score. Conversion was missed.
HALF-TIME: Loughborough Students 5-19 Esher
It was Esher who began the 2nd half well drawing the penalty and opting for the kick to corner. However the ball was knocked on in the tackle and Loughborough relieved the pressure with a great clearing kick.
It came at a cost as Loughborough brought themselves right back into the game as captain James Freeman went over. The try was converted and brought the Students back within 7 at 19-12 to Esher with 50 minutes gone.
The Esher forwards then began to gain the upper hand and Loughborough was reduced to 14 men as their loosehead prop was sent to the bin for persistent infringements at the scrum.
The EEE’s capitalised on the one man advantage as second row Brandon Walker crashed over for the bonus point try. The conversion was missed by Luke Daniels but Esher had extended the gap to 12 points at 24-12 after 66 minutes.
A Luke Daniels penalty widened the gap even further at 27-12 after 70 minutes.
Loughborough was then reduced to 14 men again as replacement hooker Tom Crozier was given 10 for cynically halting an Esher driving maul.
Esher then wrapped up the game capitalising on the one man advantage once more as flanker Peter Synott dived over the line from a powerful driving maul. Daniels missed the resulting conversion. That was the last major action of the game.
It was the most complete performance by Esher so far this season. With the pack being completely dominant against the Students. To their credit they showed great ambition with the ball in hand and will no doubt trouble teams throughout the rest of the season.
FULL-TIME: Loughborough Students 12-32 Esher