Titans defeat is blow to Esher safety bid
National League 1, Saturday January 28
Written by Richard Spiller
Leading by 15 points with a quarter of the match gone, Esher wasted a chance to take another giant step towards safety.
Victory would have been their sixth in eight outings but instead they were sucked back into the battle at the bottom by Titans, who are one place off the bottom but now just eight points behind and with a game in hand.
It looked so good for Es when hooker Andy Hamilton touched down as the pack drove over and even more promising as full-back Jack Rouse took advantage of a successful lineout to sneak over between the posts, Sam Morley converting the latter to put the visitors 12-0 up on seven minutes.
Morley was on target again with a neatly-taken penalty after 19 and it took until the half-hour for Taunton to open their account via a George Worboys penalty.
Two tries in the final five minutes of the first half put the hosts into the ascendant. Choosing not to kick for touch after an infringement, they took a tap and drove over the line for front row Isaac Dalton to score. Shai Bonnick's speed on the wing earned their second, the two conversions ensuring they went in 17-15 ahead.
Hopes Esher could turn around the situation in the second half were dashed as Ratu Vakaluukali's feed from a scrum set up Charlie Rice for Taunton's third try, Warboys adding the extras again.
Titans were reduced to 14 for 10 minutes after a poor tackle, Morley reducing the deficit through a penalty but Es could make no further headway.
After that setback, Es have a handy break for sore bodies to rest and injuries to heal before returning to action on February 18, when they host leaders Sale. And with three other teams among the top six to come soon after, their work to secure another season in National Division One is far from done.
Games to come (home in bold) – Sat Feb 18: Sale FC; Sat 25: Cinderford; Sat March 4: Cambridge; Fri 10: Chinnor; Sat 25: Hull; Sat April 1: Bishop's Stortford; Sat 15: Darlington MP; Sat 22: Rams.
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