Esher 17 - 28 Bishop's Stortford
Playing into a stiff breeze, Stortford dominated throughout the first half, but struggled to break down a determined Esher defence. With Baxter Wilson and Mark McCraith starting after long injury absences, the visitors seemed to find a new level of intensity and cohesion throughout the side, with Tom Banks and Johnny Neville, back from rather shorter absences also making their presences crucially felt. Another notable feature of the team performance was the great discipline shown in conceding a very small number of penalties, whilst forcing multiple kicks in their own favour. Stortford were well on top at the set scrums, which helped provide territorial dominance, allied with tremendous handling accuracy, allowing the team to run through multiple phases time after time. The first score came from George Cullen's boot, after 10 minutes, when a testing tactical kick from the flyhalf well into the Esher half was backed up with an excellent team chase, forcing a penalty under the posts. Despite much further Stortford pressure on the home 22, Esher managed to keep their line intact and, as time in the half was running out, the visitors settled for another penalty goal from Cullen - this time a much longer-range effort - after 38 minutes. There was just enough time, though for Stortford to show what their backs can do, as Steve Ball took a clean catch from the restart and set up good ball on his own 22. Banks dummied a kick for touch and switched the ball left, where quick hands in midfield gave the ball to winger, Ryan Hutler, who stepped inside and broke a tackle to burst clear and run some 60 yards to touch down in the corner for an unconverted try and an 11 point halftime lead.