Canterbury 11 Esher 33
National Division Two South
Saturday April 16
Match Report by Richard Spiller
Esher's Canterbury tale keeps them on title trail
Battling Canterbury stretched Esher but the leaders head into their last two matches with a four-point cushion.
They take on fourth-placed Worthing at Molesey Road on Saturday with the title in their grasp, should Redruth slip up on a potentially difficult trip to Leicester Lions.
The Kent side ensured Es laboured until seven minutes from time to secure the fourth of their five tries and with it a bonus point, which could yet prove crucial.
Beaten 26-0 when the sides met just before Christmas, Canterbury went 6-0 up on 33 minutes of an attritional first half, thanks to a brace of penalties from Kyan Braithwaite, but that ignited the visitors, centre Miles Rawstron-Rudd intercepting a pass before driving over on 36 although the conversion was missed.
Esher's ability to take advantage of a break was underlined when Canterbury lost Danny Herriott to the sinbin for bringing down a maul, the extra space enabling Jack Lavin to go over and Sam Morley's extras leaving his side 12-6 up at half time, having become the second side in the division to reach 1,000 points this season.
Full-back Lavin's defensive qualities were displayed after the interval when he produced a try-saving challenge, the action transferring to the other end for Esher to extend their advantage through a Theo Skoumbourdis try on 56 minutes, Morley making the gap 13 points.
The hosts weren't finished, though, a driving maul enabling Tristan King to score wide out, although the conversion flew wide.
That bonus point try sealed victory too, a lineout seeing replacement hooker Charlie Crawley score his second try in as many matches with Morley finding the posts. And he was on target again within two minutes after watching Phil Cokanasiga, also coming off the bench, demonstrate his devastating speed off the mark as he tore over from the halfway line.
Worthing will be all the keener to block Esher's promotion ambitions as they seek to avenge a last-ditch 30-29 defeat on the south coast in March. After that, Es conclude their programme by heading to Essex to play third-from-bottom Rochford Hundred.
Fixtures – April 23: Worthing (H); 30: Rochford (A).