Esher survived a late Blaydon onslaught as they started the new year with a confidence boosting win.

P1010263 (1)The opening exchanges of the match were fast furious. Both sides kept the ball alive well and were creating chances despite the heavy pitch underfoot.

Blaydon applied early pressure on the Esher defence but the black stood tall snuffing out any potential chance.

Esher then had an early opportunity as a clever chip from Tom Cheeseman invited Luke Daniels to latch upon the ball which unfortunately he couldn’t quite gather.

Concerted Esher pressure in the Blaydon 22 brought about the game’s first try on 17 minutes as outside half Mickey Wilson glided through a gap in the visitors defence to score under the sticks. Luke Daniels’ conversion was successful and Esher led 7-0.

However the Lions were soon reduced to 14 men as second row Chesney was sent to the bin for his part in an altercation.

Despite the one man deficit the Esher defence held strong. But Blaydon began to use the man advantage and gained a penalty which Baggett slotted with ease after 22 minutes and the home side’s’ lead had been cut to 4 points at 7-3.

P1010254 (1)Then came a moment of pure technical skill and genius from flanker Cameron Gentles before booting the ball down field to find a great 40m touch. Who needs Wilko?

Luke Daniels then managed to restore Esher’s lead back to 7 points at 10-3 on 29 minutes.

Second row Kris Chesney returned to the field with Esher only having conceded a penalty.

It was then Esher’s turn to pile on the pressure. The home side created 2 decent attacking opportunities. Mike Macfarlane creating an opening in the Blaydon defence but centre Cheeseman couldn’t quite latch on to the pop pass. Then a great chance of the back of an attacking scrum as Shaw found Daniels who put in Sutherland but he was tackled by good covering defence from Blaydon.

The pressure eventually told as fly-half Mickey Wilson shimmied his way through the Blaydon defence before offloading to an on-charging Cheeseman on his shoulder who scored. Daniels converted and Esher went into the break 17-3 up.

HALF-TIME: Esher 17-3 Blaydon

Blaydon came out into the 2nd half a different team and scored their 1st try with only 3 minutes played through Kibirige. The young man gliding home after combing with fellow three quarter partner down the left flank. Baggett missed the conversion but reduced the gap to 9 points at 17-8 to Esher.

Esher had chances but were met by some stern defence from the boys from Newcastle.

Blaydon then scored their 2nd try of the game again through full-back Kibirige who went over in the corner after a well worked blindside move. This brought the visitors right back into the game despite Baggett’s conversion dropping short. Esher led 17-13 with 53 minutes gone.

However Esher went back on the attack and crossed for their 3rd try of the game as soft hands from replacement hooker Simon Edwards sent centre Andy Wright in for the clear across the whitewash. Luke Daniels made no mistake with the conversion to bring the score to 24-13 with 61 minutes on the clock.

P1010253 (1)The closing exchanges saw both sides bravely running the ball from deep but neither could convert opportunities into points.

Blaydon made the last few minutes a nervy encounter as prop Chris Wearmouth went over the line after being driven over by his pack. Baggett slotted the kick to reduce the gap to just 4 points at 24-20 to Esher with 3 minutes remaining.

The Red Boys piled the pressure on the Esher defence in the closing exchanges but the home side held firm and held out the Blaydon onslaught.

A confidence boosting win for Esher who maintain their challenge on Doncaster at the top. A trip to Old Albanians is up next.

FULL-TIME: Esher 24-20 Blaydon