Esher 39 Sutton & Epsom 19
National Division 2 South
Saturday January 25
Tom James claimed two tries as Esher condemned Sutton & Epsom to bottom place.
Not that the visitors gave up easily, their tenacity and resolution keeping them in the match until two late scores ensured Es claimed the convincing victory which had always looked likely.
The hosts were ahead by the third minute, attacking straight from the start and picking a hole in the Sutton defence when lock Cameron Gentles forced his way through for scrum-half Jack Walsh to take advantage of a slick overload by going over.
Tristan Roberts converted and added a penalty after 10 minutes as Esher, who won 38-6 at Rugby Lane in October, eyed another comfortable victory.
But the visitors' superior weight up front soon counted, a lineout 15 metres out being driven hard for flanker Ollie Kilgallon to touch down, although the extras went astray.
Coached by Esher's former director of rugby Mike Schmid, Sutton saw the deficit widen again on the half-hour, another slick move creating space and seeing fly-half Roberts feeding Callum Monks for the full-back toround his opposite number before crossing under the posts. Roberts converted for 17-5.
S&E once more showed their punch up front before the break, George London applying the finishing touches to another pushover and this time Michael Cooke produced a difficult conversion from an acute angle.
Losing second row and skipper George Drye to the sinbin moments before half time was always going to make it difficult for the visitors in the second half, even more so with Roberts's resulting penalty sending the hosts into the interval 20-12 up.
And he was heavily involved in his side's third try on 51 minutes, pulling the defence out of position so that wing James could embark on a searing sprint through the defence from more than 20 metres out, Roberts converting.
A lifeline for Sutton was thrown by No 8 Matt Whitaker hurling himself over the line after sustained forward pressure, Cooke's conversion cutting the difference to eight points.
Esher saved their best for the final 12 minutes, striking first when James Booth and Monks conspired in a sweeping crossfield move to send James over for the fourth try, securing their bonus point.
And although Roberts could not convert, he did so after the lanky Booth – back on his own left wing – capped a persevering display by rushing down the flank and then cutting inside to score under the posts.
Esher head to Bristol on Saturday for a clash with Old Redcliffians, bidding to build on two successive victories, before hosting Bournemouth on February 8. Their home date against Barnes, which was postponed just before Christmas, has been rearranged for Friday February 21