Sutton & Epsom RFC vs Esher
Match Report, Saturday 12th October 2019
Esher made it back-to-back wins on Saturday with a comprehensive 38-6 bonus point derby day victory over historic local rivals Sutton & Epsom at a rain-soaked Rugby Lane.
In a first meeting between the two sides for nearly 23 years, it was the hosts who made the brighter start on a dismal October afternoon, seizing possession and piling into the Esher defence directly from the kick-off.A spell of pressure ensued as the Sutton forwards muscled their way into the Esher 22, but the visiting defence showed good discipline and organisation to neutralise the attack, eventually gaining possession when the ball was lost forward in the slippery conditions.
As the downpour continued, Sutton opened the scoring in the 14th minute through a James Bourton penalty, before Esher replied just 4 minutes later when Tristan Roberts slotted a kick from the 10 metre line to level the scores.
The visitors were starting to make inroads into the home defence by this stage, with wing Joe Beckett being stopped just short of the line after a sniping break from scrum-half Jack Walsh.More pressure followed, and when a dominant Esher scrum on the try line looked to have the Sutton pack in trouble, the referee showed no hesitation in awarding a penalty try with 21 minutes on the clock.
Sutton reduced the arrears with another Bourton penalty 4 minutes later, before Esher hit back again with their second try of the afternoon in the 33rd minute through Joe Beckett.As the Esher forwards rumbled their way into the Sutton 22 with a muscular driving maul, Beckett came racing in from the left wing to take an inside pass from Jack Walsh, breaking through the defence before accelerating away to score under the posts.Roberts added the extras to make the halftime score Sutton & Epsom 6-Esher 17.
Esher increased their lead shortly after the interval when outside centre Lennox Anwanyu made a battering run into his opposite number just outside the Sutton 22.With the Esher man brought to ground however, the ball squirted loose in the tackle before being hacked forward and gathered up by second row Cam Gentles.Still with work to do, Gentles showed good pace and strength as he fended off the remaining defenders to barge his way over the line for Esher's third try of the game.Roberts added another conversion to give Esher a 24-6 lead with 43 minutes played.
The result was effectively sealed as Esher brought up their bonus point try in the 54th minute, when prop Cam Leigh crossed the line with a storming run from around 20 yards out.A well-placed kick towards the corner from Tristan Roberts had brought Esher close to the Sutton 22, but with the home side missing their jumper from the resulting lineout, Leigh was quickest to react as he grabbed the ball and set off on an unstoppable run to the line.Roberts made no mistake with the conversion to give Esher a 31-6 lead.
With the conditions making life difficult for both sides, Sutton responded well to Esher's early second half scores as they regained the ball and went on to enjoy a prolonged spell of possession and territory.Using their forwards to good effect, the home side pounded away at the Esher defence with a series of drives and carries as they drew ever closer, however the visitors showed great strength and determination to repel the danger, eventually turning the ball over to clear their lines.
Having regained possession after a lengthy defensive shift, Esher promptly found another gear in the closing stages.Following a furious assault on the Sutton try line, prop Xavier Valentine was adjudged to have been held up, but from the resulting 5 metre scrum Tristan Roberts was on hand to cut through the defence and score Esher's fifth and final try of the match under the posts.And as Roberts duly converted his own score, the referee's whistle blew to cap an impressive afternoon's work by the men from Molesey Road.