This game between two fairly evenly matched sides ebbed and flowed with the lead changing hands four times. The Hawks had the better of the first half leading 23-13 at the break. Esher came back strongly in the second in which they scored three tries in ten minutes to deny the Hawks a bonus point which they deserved if only for their first half display.
After missing his first attempt at kicking a penalty Esher full back Luke Daniels converted his second attempt eight minutes into the game. Esher continued to play the game in the Hawks’ half after Danny Wells had equalised with a similar effort. This pressure in the Hawks 22 was rewarded for Esher when lock Cameron Gentles strode through thin cover to touch down under the posts which Daniels made into a seven point score with his conversion.
The Hawks kept in touch with a second penalty by Wells who had six successful kick at goal in the course of the game, with three penalties and three conversions, a good afternoon’s work as a deputy for the injured James Comben.
With the score at 10-6 to Esher after 17 minutes the Hawks were able to get some decent possession and proceeded to silence the home support when left wing Alan Awcock was put away in space to score sufficiently near to the posts for Wells to make the score 13-10.. This lead was short lived as referee Shane Lewis punished a high tackle delivered by robust Hawks prop Alex Penny equalise the scores
The ding dong nature of the scoring continued when Wells was able to convert penalty number three.
The kicking stalemate was ended when the Hawks pack began to dominate the Esher eight to such an extent that from a line out they drove fifteen metres for Robbie Staley to plunge to over for a try in typical fashion.
This spurred the Esher pack into similar action and as half-time approached they made every effort to disturb the Hawks 23-13 lead but failed.
However it was a different story after the break. The Hawks’ fumbled the restart kick ( a fault they repeated in this game) and gaining possession the home side now playing with increased fervour commanded it to such an extent that within ten minutes they scored three converted tries. The first by replacement scrum-half Robbie Shaw who ran wide from what appeared a crooked line out throw. This was followed by tries scored by two of the front row club, hooker Neil Sweeney and prop Neil Maguire overcoming a less than robust Hawks’ defence in ruck situations
Henley however were not about to surrender and with reasonable good possession they were prepared to threaten the Esher lead with their superior back play and this was demonstrated when the ball was put wide to Xavier Andre the quickest and most elusive back on the field and he demonstrated his skills when outpacing the Esher cover down the right from half way and touching down for Wells to make the score 34-30.
However the Hawks’ chances of re-taking the lead were diminished when centre Neil Baggett was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle with fifteen minutes of play available. The Hawks were then denied a bonus point when the reliable Daniels kicked two more penalties to make the score 40-10.
The final blow for the Hawks came in the last minutes of the game when, in winning a race to a touch down a kick ahead in the Hawk’s dead ball area. Andre collided with Hawk’s scrum-half Luke Carter and suffered a damaged ACL shoulder joint so joining the list of the Hawk’s long term injured.
Tries: Awcock, Stapley, Andre
Conversions: Wells (3)
Penalties: Wells (3)
Tries: Gentles, Shaw, Sweeney, Macguire
Conversions: Daniels (4)
Penalties: Daniels (4)
15. Neil Baggett, 14.,Xavier Andre, 13. Martin Nutt (Capt.),12. Danny Wells 11. Alan Awcock, 10. Tom Allen, 9. Luke Carter, 1. Dai Maddocks, 2. Alex Penny, 3. Dave Manning, 4. Dave Clements, 5. Josh McNally, 6. Will Woodward, 7. Liam Dwyer, 8. Rob Stapley 16. Ant Brennan, 17. Tommy Haynes 18. Ryan Long
Replacements Not Used – James Bloxham, Mark Bruce