Esher 24 – Blaydon 20

[match id=103]

Disappointingly it only resulted in a losing bonus point but Blaydon’s long journey south produced a cracking game between two top sides that could have gone either way. Trailing 24-13 going into the final quarter Blaydon threw everything at the home side, Chris Wearmouth was driven over to reduce the gap to just 4 points, and in the five minutes of time added on they pounded the try line but Esher hung on grimly to the end.

Blaydon had started the better but a missed tackle let in Esher fly-half Mickey Wilson near the posts and full-back Luke Daniels added the conversion. The home side then lost Kris Chesney to the sin-bin but Blaydon could only take advantage with an Andrew Baggett penalty for handling in a ruck and that was soon cancelled out with a similar effort from Daniels.

With the interval approaching Blaydon looked to have survived a long period in defence but the pressure eventually told and home centre Tom Cheeseman crashed over near the posts with Daniels making it 17-3 at the break.

The second period was quite a different story with Zach Kibirige showing once again what a tremendous prospect he is with a 3rd brace of tries in as many games. The young full-back fielded a long kick and broke from the 22 to release winger Tom Jeffery who beat his man and skated down the left to draw the home full-back and there was Kibirige in support to touch down.

His second try soon followed from umpteen phases of possession when he joined the three-quarters line and cut loose into the 22 only to be tackled a metre short. Showing great awareness however he held onto the ball and had the presence of mind to reach over the defenders and touch down over the line.

All the good work was sadly negated when a mistake let in Esher centre Andrew Wright who with a smart dummy was away in a flash and their lead had been extended.

Blaydon’s never say die approach could and maybe should have secured the points in the pulsating final quarter, and when lock-forward Wearmouth was driven over and Baggett on target with the extras it looked very likely.

John Brennan