Barnes RFC vs Esher Match Report, Saturday 14th September 2019

​By Phil Wigley

Esher got their season up and running with an emphatic 61-34 bonus point victory over Barnes RFC on Saturday, running in 9 tries to 5 as both sides played out a highly entertaining contest in the late summer sunshine in south-west London

After the low scoring encounter at Redruth the previous weekend, Esher wasted little time in notching up their first try of the game when captain Charlie Gossington took a perfectly timed pass from Tristan Roberts and burst through the defence to score from the edge of the Barnes 22.Roberts added the conversion to give Esher a 7-0 lead with just 3 minutes played

With the Barnes scrum-half Josh Davies being shown a yellow card shortly after the restart, Esher went on the attack again and promptly scored their second try in the 7th minute through blindside flanker Cameron Wilkins.Taking the ball from just inside his own half, centre James Chaumeton made a sharp break through the defence and raced towards the Barnes 22, before drawing his man to send back-row Wilkins storming away under the posts.Roberts added the extras to extend Esher's lead to 14 points

The visitors were continuing to look dangerous, and just as Barnes scrum-half Davies was returning from the sin bin, centre Nick Van Buuren was also shown a yellow card when a high tackle on Esher full-back Corey Venus halted another attack.Making the most of their numerical advantage, Esher scored again in the 17th minute with an excellent finish from wing Tom James, before registering their bonus point try eight minutes later when a dominant scrum and quick ball down the line sent James over in the corner for his second score of the day.Roberts converted both tries to make the scoreline Barnes 0-Esher 28 with 25 minutes on the clock

Any thoughts of a comfortable afternoon out in the sun for the visitors were quickly put to bed however, as the hosts began to raise their intensity and fight their way back into the game.A driving maul from the home forwards brought them into the Esher 22, creating the platform for centre Van Buuren to cut though a gap in the defence and score a converted try under the posts on the half hour mark.Barnes were stretching the Esher defence by this stage with their incisive running lines and ability to move the ball wide at pace, and a second score duly followed 5 minutes later when another line break from Van Buuren was finished off under the posts by scrum-half Davies

More pressure from the hosts followed, resulting in a third try at close range from replacement forward Danny Ruddock just before the break.The attempted conversion drifted wide, leaving the half-time score at Barnes 19-Esher 28

Having been on the back foot towards the end of the first half, Esher steadied the ship after the interval when fly-half Roberts made a searing break down the left-hand touchline to score under the posts and convert his own try in the 42nd minute.From that point, the visitors began to dominate possession and territory for much of the third quarter, scoring their sixth try of the afternoon with a smart finish in the corner from wing Joe Beckett.The conversion fell short this time, to leave Esher with a 21 point lead after 58 minutes

With the away side looking to close the game out however, Barnes hit back again with a superb solo effort from winger Robbie Martey to bring up their bonus point try with a converted score in the 61st minute

Esher's lead was cut to just 11 points through a Barnes penalty four minutes later, but with the hosts rapidly coming back into contention, Peter Winterbottom's men responded when a break from centre Harry Priestner was finished off by a powerful run to the line from second-row Cameron Gentles.Roberts added another conversion to give Esher an 18 point lead with 12 minutes left to play

As the two sides continued to run the ball at each other, it was Barnes who came up with the next score when No.8 Matthew Hind dived over from close range for an unconverted try in the 74th minute. Esher finished the game strongly however, taking charge of the closing stages and looking threatening in possession as they pushed forward.Another converted try soon followed after 76 minutes from the excellent Tristan Roberts, before Tom James rounded off proceedings with his hat-trick try in the final minute. And as Roberts stroked over the conversion from the touchline, the referee's whistle blew to put the seal on an exciting attacking display against an impressive and mobile Barnes outfit

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