A spirited 2nd half fightback from Esher seals an impressive bonus point win away at a determined Worthing side.
After returning to winning ways in the local derby against Blackheath last time out Esher was keen to continue their winnings ways against Worthing if they were to pose a serious threat to top of the table Doncaster.
The game began at a ferocious pace with sides willing to run the ball deep but some stern defence forcing the errors.
A great break by Worthing number eight Liam Perkins almost brought the game’s first try but he was denied by a superb covering tackle from Esher full-back Luke Daniels.
It was then the EEE’s turn to puncture the Worthing defence as fly-half Tom Whelan made a great outside break only to be dragged into touch by some great covering defence.
However it wasn’t long before Worthing scored the 1st try of the game. The home side turned the ball over on halfway. Number nine Joe Govett made a searing break upfield before delaying the pass superbly for winger Alex Nielsen to score in the corner. Govett missed the resulting conversion but Worthing led 5-0 after 9 minutes.
But Esher hit straight back. Despite missing his first penalty attempt on goal full-back Luke Daniels soon made amends as his converted a second penalty opportunity to bring Esher back within 2 points at 5-3 after 23 minutes.
Esher were beginning to dominate and build the phases together. Despite another Daniels missed penalty attempt the EEE’s soon scored their 1st try of the game through winger Andy Wright. The big man crossing in the corner after neat build up play from Daniels. The full-back converted and Esher led 10-5 after 35 minutes.
Worthing hit straight back though just before the break as flanker Sam Hewick crossed for the try after lovely hands and build up play. Joe Govett converted the try and that was deemed to be the last action of the half.
HALF-TIME: Worthing 12-10 Esher
Worthing started the 2nd half as they ended the 1st as they scored their 3rd try of the game through tight-head prop Dan Sargent who powered over from close range. Govett converted and extended the gap to 19-10 after 46 minutes.
But Esher kept themselves in touch as a scything run from full-back Daniels created space out wide. After several phases the ball was spread wide and outside centre Ashley Smith crossed for the try. Daniels missed the conversion but the gap had been closed to 4 points at 19-15 to Worthing after 62 mins.
Esher then took the lead through a brilliantly executed catch and drive. Prop Dave Millard powered over from the back of the maul. Daniels missed the conversion but Esher led by 1 point at 20-19 after 66 minutes.
Things got worse for Worthing as outside centre Kiba Richards was shown yellow for a deliberate knock-on.
Esher utilised the man advantage and secured the try bonus point as winger Andy Wright scored his 2nd try of the game. Daniels missed the conversion but the gap had been extended to 6 points at 25-19 to the away side with 2 minutes remaining.
A nervy final few minutes followed with Esher prop Millard sin binned for a cynical infringement. But the penalty was reversed in the away side’s favour and Tom Whelan booted the ball in to touch to seal the win.
It was a great fightback from Esher. Great to get a bonus point win away from home against a Worthing side that pushed us all the way and made life difficult.
Next up is a home game against Fylde.
FULL-TIME: Worthing 19-25 Esher