1st XV Match Report - Esher v Barnes written by Richard Spiller

Esher 34 Barnes 10

National Division 2 South

Friday February 21, 2020

An emphatic display from Esher saw them do the double over Barnes and extend their unbeaten run to five matches.

Having started the new year with two defeats, Es beat Leicester Lions and Sutton & Epsom, drew at Old Redcliffians and then saw off Bournemouth before Friday night's derby, which had been postponed just before Christmas.

The hosts have frequently been slovenly starters this season yet this time they were 15-0 up by half time and Barnes – who lost the first meeting between the sides 61-34 back in September – rarely threatened to turn the match around.

A James Chaumeton penalty sent Esher in front but the absence of influential lock Cam Gentles threatened their hopes of competing at lineouts, which made the opening try in the 13th minute all the more surprising. A Barnes throw near the halfway line was stolen by hooker Andy Hamilton, who launched himself on a run of around 40 metres before touching down.

A cold, gusting wind, which made life uncomfortable for spectators, was a handicap to kickers and Chaumeton could not convert. It took until six minutes before the break for the second try to come, both defences too savvy for what was thrown at them until wing Joe Beckett found sufficient space on the left for his pace to take him round three challenges before touching down. Chaumeton added the extras.

A penalty three minutes into the second half perked Barnes's interest yet they were soon further adrift, centre Dan Rowland's break being built on through the phases before scrum-half Jack Walsh applied the finishing touches and Chaumeton converted for 22-3.

The bonus point was secured just before the hour and in fine style, an offload from fly-half Chaumeton setting up industrious flanker Cam Wilkins to sprint over, Sam Druce taking over kicking duties successfully.

Barnes deserved something from the match and it came when Cameron Ruddock went over from the back of a ruck for a converted effort.

But Esher had the final word, 10 minutes from the end, more fine attacking play seeing Sam Bullock's run down the right opening up space for full-back Tom Mitchell to score, Druce converting.

Esher will attempt to extend their run to six when they host Worthing on Saturday. Their trip to Taunton, which was postponed on February 15, has been switched to March 14, seven days after visiting Henley Hawks.

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