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Two last-gasp penalties dashed Esher's hopes of a victory over local rivals Rosslyn Park in a thrilling clash at Molesey Road

Match report by Steph Franklin

The warm and dry conditions made for a gripping contest, with the lead changing hands several times over the course of the match as both sides' backs ran the show. Rosslyn Park winger Charlie Walker opened the afternoon's scoring as he raced over in the corner to bag a try against his former club. Craig Holland duly slotted the first of his many successful kicks in the ninth minute. Esher fly half Owen Waters chalked up the afternoon's first points for Esher shortly afterwards, as he made light work of a penalty kick.

This gave the home side a boost as they launched an energetic period of attack, culminating in a neat try by Myles Rawstron-Rudd, who slipped through a gap in the Park defences to race over under the posts, giving Waters no trouble with the conversion, and passing the lead to the hosts.

Another former Esher man, Cameron Zeiss, was next to score for the visitors following a scrum on the Esher five metre line, though the tricky angle meant the conversion missed its mark. This handed the lead, once again, to Rosslyn Park, though not for long as scrum half Pierre Thompson barrelled over the line in the thirty-sixth minute, though this conversion too was wide of the target.

At this point Esher might have started to feel they had the upper hand, though their luck changed just before half time. A yellow card for winger Ben Robbins for a deliberate knock-on reduced them to fourteen men, and provided a perfect opportunity for Park captain Dan Laventure to pick and go across the line. Holland once again slotted the conversion just before the break, handing the lead back to the visitors.

Making the most of their man advantage, it was Rosslyn park who were first to score in the second half, this time thanks to Ben Howard, and another successful Holland conversion.

As Robbins returned to the pitch, Esher mounted another all-out attack on the Park line, and their patience was rewarded with a pick-and-go try for skipper Hugh Sloan, with Waters once again adding the extras. One more try for the hosts - this time from Jack Rouse - ramped up the pressure in the final ten minutes, with both sides desperate to come away with the win. It was Park, however, who came out on top, keeping their composure as errors gave away two penalties, with Craig Holland's boot securing victory for the visitors in this closely-fought contest. 


Photo credit: Leo Wilkinson Photography https://www.leothephotographer.co.uk/p/62487nmp

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