MATCH YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS (Esher Tries)
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Match report by: Steph Franklin
Esher set out their stall for the coming season with a resounding 38-14 win over league newcomers Rochford Hundred.
The Ees started strong as prop (and eventual Man of the Match) Theo Skoumbourdis made an impressive break four minutes in, offloading neatly to a perfectly-placed Hugh Sloan to finish the job. Sam Morley added the extras, giving the home side a seven-point lead that held firm throughout the game. An opportunistic crossfield kick found its way into the expert hands of Tom James ten minutes later, sending him sprinting over in the corner for our second try of the afternoon, though the conversion was just out of reach.
The excitement ramped up further in the second quarter, with Rochford's Chris Shields scoring the visitors' first of the afternoon, converted by fly half Sam Cappeart.
Esher's next chance to score came thanks to a 5 metre lineout and a robust driving maul, and this time it was Harvey Scott's name on the scoreboard as he bulldozed through the Rochford defence.
Less than five minutes later, a period of Esher possession looked to be for nothing after some fumbled passes, but thankfully Scott was once again on hand to aid the hosts' recovery as he scored his second of the afternoon, securing Esher's bonus point.
Rochford were undeterred, however, and they made the most of Esher's poorly-placed restart, sending their winger Mark Billings over in the corner. Sam Cappeart once again effortlessly added the extras and closed out the first half with Esher leading 24-14
The second half brought no further scores for the visitors, though Esher managed two more tries. The first came thanks to a lightning-fast break from Dan Rowland and a neat offload to Harvey Scott who hoofed the ball across to inside centre Luke Peters to dot down. Morley's successful conversion brought the score to 31-14 with half an hour left on the clock.
Jack Lavin marked his return to the club with a heroic score, forcing his way through a solid Rochford defence and dragging two visiting defenders along with him as he crossed the whitewash. Sam Morley's trusty boot once again added the extras and brought the hosts to a lead of 38-14.
Although neither side managed any further points in the final fifteen minutes of the game, the pace and intensity carried on right through to the final whistle, as both sides brought league rugby back to Molesey Road with a bang.
It was by no means a perfect performance, but the boys in black and amber have plenty to be proud of as we set our sights on a trip to Dings Crusaders next week.Esher Cardinals 22-22 Brunel University (Tries: Shields, Billings Cons: Cappaert x 2)