By Alex Lambe @rugby_lambo214
A spirited 2nd half fight-back from Esher is not enough as Park take the spoils in pulsating local derby
After a narrow defeat at the hands of pre-season promotion favourites, Doncaster, last time out the EEE’s were keen to bounce back against 2nd placed Rosslyn Park.
It was Park who dominated the opening exchanges constantly pressurising the Esher defence putting them on the back foot. The pressure as after only 5 minutes Park winger Dave Vincent cantered in from an overlap on the right. Scott Sneddon converted the try to give the home side an early 5-0 lead.
Park was throwing everything they had at the Esher defence. They started to dominate the loose and broken field play. They also began to gain the upper hand at scrum time.
The second try came soon after as a beautiful break and step inside from outside centre Charlie Broughton created space before he offloaded superbly for the on charging Ed Lewis-Pratt, who scored. Sneddon converted once more and Park extended their lead to 14-0 after 16 minutes.
Esher got themselves on the score sheet through a Luke Daniels penalty on 21 minutes as the home team were pinged for not releasing at the tackle.
Park continued to dominate first phase and broken field play but could not add to the tally of 2 tries.
They then gifted Esher a route back into the match as a wayward and telegraphed pass was read and intercepted superbly by winger Anders Mogensen who out-sprinted the covering defence to score. Daniels couldn’t convert but the EEE’s had got themselves back into the match at 14-8.
However just before the break Park scored their third try of the game through winger Joe Ajuwa who broke some fairly weak Esher tackling to dot down. Sneddon converted the try and that was deemed to be the last action of the half.
HALF-TIME: Rosslyn Park 21-8 Esher
A stern half-time team talk was needed and it most definitely showed as it didn’t take long for the EEE’s to score with a Luke Daniels penalty to close the gap to 10 points at 21-11 after 42 minutes.
Rosslyn Park was quick to extend the gap once more as winger Dave Vincent grabbed his 2nd try of the match as he cantered in from an overlap. Sneddon converted to give Park their bonus point try at 28-11 after 43 minutes.
Esher was not going down without a fight and winger Ashley Smith crossed the whitewash after being put in by centre Jack Cooke. Daniels converted the try and also added a penalty to close the gap to 7 points at 28-21 to Park after 56 minutes.
Park was soon reduced to 14 men as winger and try scorer Joe Ajuwa was sent to the bin for a cynical infringement. Esher took advantage of being a man up as flanker Mike Macfarlane scored a try from a very well executed catch and drive. Daniels converted to level the scores up at 28 points apiece after 68 minutes.
Park moved back in front with a Sneddon penalty on 75 minutes as Esher was caught offside to make the score 31-28.
The game was all but sealed minutes later as Park scored their 5th try of the match as Dave Vincent glided through a gap in the Esher defence to score a great try. Sneddon converted to make the score 38-28 with 2 minutes remaining.
However Esher managed to salvage a well-deserved losing bonus point as a Luke Daniels penalty on the stroke of full-time made the score 38-31.
It was a spirited 2nd half comeback from the EEE’s but a poor 1st half ultimately gave them too much to do. A tough test at home to Coventry awaits the boys next.
FULL-TIME: Rosslyn Park 38-31 Esher