What a difference a week makes. From the rain and heavy Burnaby Rd pitch of last week to a firm track at Esher allowed bot h teams to play a high tempo game where only committed defence from both teams kept the scoring down to 10 tries. Esher deserved their 6-4 try advantage in their 36-22 win but they could never fully break away from a determined and at times skilful, Navy side.
The first score went deservedly to Esher as their inside centre danced through a couple of wayward tackles to go under the posts. The easy conversion made it 7 – 0 and no doubt a few of the Navy supporters were concerned by the seeming ease of the score. However this was a much changed Navy side and with few combinations use to each other the defencive system was always going to take some time to bed in. The first try wasn’t the first time during the evening it was breeched but the work rate of the side to cover the holes made sure that Esher were not going to get any more easy scores.
With the ball quickly recycled and moved to the left Navy skipper Gaz Evans dotted down the easiest of tries.
The Esher’s response was swift, clinical and skilful. Having made the half break they moved the ball quickly to the right and were able to put their winger on the outside of the Navy’s cover defence for their second score. With their tails up they were again soon pressing the Navy line but for the next 15 minutes the youngsters in blue did some very quick growing up. Their tackling became more physical and time and again they thwarted Eshers attempts to add to their score. With half time approaching the Navy had managed to lift the siege on their line only to concede a sucker punch of a try with the last move of the half when Esher ran the ball from deep. 19 – 5 as they went back in to the changing rooms.
The quality of the Navy’s play was clearly rattling Esher as time and again they were forced back in the tackle from the committed driving and running game from the Navy team.
Two further tries from Esher extended their lead to 31 – 10 before again the Navy raised their game and challenged for points.
From the restart Esher responded wit ha try of their own following an excellent piece of flowing rugby that exposed the Navy’s makeshift back row lack of pace in defence. Hardly surprising when Josh Terry, a prop, had been forced through other injuries to move back to flanker.
A score of 36 – 17 flattered Esher and was not a reflection on the match and it was therefore fitting that the Navy had the last laugh with the final move of the match.
Hard driving play was held up under the posts and with the ball moved to the right the Esher defence could not cope with the blistering pace of the Maltese Falcon
However all the side can be pleased at the progress they have made since last weeks game. It bodes well for the next match at home to Cambridge University on Wednesday 6 March.