Esher 39 Worthing Raiders 19

National Division Two South

Saturday, April 23

JUST two points will be enough to seal promotion for Esher when they head to Rochford Hundred on Saturday.

That was the reward for seeing off Worthing last weekend, overcoming the Sussex side’s late fightback in front of a record home crowd of 1,350, who relished the running rugby which Peter Winterbottom’s men have produced this season in winning 24 out of 29 matches, scoring 1,060 points along the way.

Es will want to seal the title with a 25th triumph by beating Rochford – third from bottom – which would enable them to equal their run of 10 straight victories earlier in the season. That established them among the promotion challengers and they would love to finish it off in style, although two bonus points will be sufficient to put them out of reach of challengers Redruth, who trail by four.

Last month at Worthing, Esher snatched a late win by just a point but there was no hanging about this time, going in front after just three minutes as Pierre Thompson capped a fluent move by cruising over, Sam Morley converting and then adding a penalty soon after.

The pair showed why they are the most effective half-back combination in the league by teaming up again on 14 minutes, a sizzling break by stand-off Morley seeing his partner going over again and then adding the extras.

And when Morley knocked over a second penalty on 23 minutes for 20-0, he had clocked up 300 points for the campaign.

Esher lost Fergus Donnelly to the sinbin just before half time but Raiders could not take advantage and went further behind when Donnelly celebrated his return to the fray after his central partner Miles Rawstron-Rudd stormed into space and then fed him for a converted score.

Wing Tomek Pozniak’s raw pace has exposed a number of defences this season and when he latched on to a deflected pass on halfway it happened again, searing down the right to go over, Rawstron-Rudd adding the extras with Morley having been withdrawn.

Tom James was given the ideal opportunity to mark his final home match before retirement by scoring Esher’s fifth try but Worthing took the opportunity to show why they have been pushing hard for much of the season with a late trio of tries, prop Dan Sargent breaking their duck on 68 minutes and being followed over in short order by wing Matt McLean and then flanker Kemp Price – McLean converting the first two – but there was too much to do for the Sussex side.

Esher will hope to wrap up the title on Saturday and that many of those who attended Saturday’s match will want to return to see them in action in National Division One next season.