Keep the faith!
By Alex Lambe @rugby_lambo214
Coventry prove too strong as Esher slip to 3rd successive defeat despite a spirited comeback
After a somewhat disappointing derby loss last weekend to local rivals Rosslyn Park the EEE’s were keen to get back on track with a win against a Coventry side that have recorded some impressive results so far this season.
In the opening exchanges Esher showed their willingness to run with the ball in hand. On several occasions they made ventures into the Coventry half. A scything run from full-back Luke Daniels demonstrated this clearly. However they lacked the clinical finishing touch.
It was Coventry who scored the game’s opening try. A great break from wing Will Hurrell created the space and he fed the pass inside to the on charging hooker Chris Locke to score. Cliffie Hodgson converted the try for a 7-0 lead after 7 minutes.
A Luke Daniels penalty on 13 minutes closed the gap to 7-3 after Coventry was penalised at the scrum.
Esher almost got their 1st try of the game as captain Neil Sweeney crossed the whitewash. But he was adjudged to have been held up and gave the EEE’s a 5m scrum. Unfortunately the ball was turned over and the visitors managed to clear their lines.
Coventry was dominating first phase play and showed creativity in attack. This was highlighted by a neat chip over the top of the Esher defence which was almost latched upon by their midfield.
A long break in play then ensued as scrum-half Andy Garner received treatment for what seemed like a serious leg injury.
The momentum was now with the visitors. A penalty for offside against Esher was kicked to the corner. From the resultant catch and drive Coventry powered forward and it was collapsed by Esher. The referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try. Hodgson added the simple conversion to extend the lead to 14-3 after 27 minutes.
The pressure was starting to get to Esher as they had plenty of opportunities during the rest of the half but a series of errors and lack of good execution let them down. Coventry went into the break in the ascendency.
HALF-TIME: Esher 3-14 Coventry
A big 2nd half performance was required from the boys. Opportunities would need to be taken.
The opening exchanges of the 2nd half saw Coventry continue to play a good territory game and apply plenty of pressure on the home side with Esher rarely getting outside of their 22.
Despite having everything thrown at them by the visitors they came up against some stern Esher defence as they held them up over the line and forced the errors.
The next score of the game went to Esher. Possession and a good attacking position in the Coventry 22 resulted in an overlap outwide and replacement hooker Simon Edwards dived over. Luke Daniels couldn’t convert the try but the gap had been narrowed to 14-8 after 60 minutes.
However Coventry extended the gap once more as a penalty against Esher for not rolling away gave Hodgson another shot at goal. His kick was good and Coventry led 17-8 with 15 minutes remaining.
Coventry was soon reduced to 14 men as winger Mark Kohler was yellow carded for a tip tackle on fellow wing Spencer Sutherland.
Esher capitalised on the one man advantage as a Luke Daniels penalty closed the gap to 6 points at 17-11 to Coventry after 69 minutes.
A great penalty kick from Cliffie Hodgson extended the gap back to 9 points at 20-11 with 7 minutes remaining.
Despite throwing everything they had at Coventry in the last few minutes and closing the gap with a Luke Daniels penalty Esher could not break a stubborn defence. That was it!
Next up is a long trip to bottom of the table and league newcomers, Hull Ionians.
FULL-TIME: Esher 14-20 Coventry