Esher 26 Moseley 22
Moseley lost their unbeaten record this season in League and Cup rugby to Esher, also unbeaten, at the anagramatic 369 Molesey Road, in an exciting, closely contested game. Moseley had enough chances to win the game but the predictably strong Esher defence and possibly the pressure of the occasion restricted their normally flowing style of rugby.
Again predictably, Esher on their home ground, were the first to get into their stride. Neil Hallett kicked a penalty after three minutes and, two minutes later, passed to flanker Lee Starling, formerly of London Welsh, who raced through a gap in Moseley’s defence to score a great try, converted by the try instigator. Ollie Thomas reduced the arrears after ten minutes but Hallett kicked another penalty after 15 minutes to restore Esher’s ten point lead. From then on, Moseley came into the game and Thomas kicked another penalty after 20 minutes.
And, after Nathan Bressington had knocked-on close to the line, it was a well-judged kick over the defence from Thomas that gave Bressington the opportunity to race in to collect the ball to score a try under the posts, converted by Thomas which brought the scores level. Before the interval, a fine run by Andy Binns was stopped in the corner and, ironically, over-confidence by Paul Cox, who is having such a good season, made him not notice a two-man overlap in injury time.
Hallett restored the lead with a penalty three minutes after the interval but Moseley continued to miss overlap situations by not spreading the ball wide when Esher’s centre-field defence was outstanding. But another long-range penalty from Thomas levelled the scores and another Thomas penalty gave Moseley the lead for the first time, after 60 minutes. However, five minutes later, Esher suddenly sprang into life and a bout of quick passing started by flanker Jack Davison sent in Australian Sevens winger David MacCullum for a try under the posts using the overlap! Hallett converted and kicked a penalty five minutes later.
Moseley had the misfortune to lose their most potent attacker Nathan Bressington after 70 minutes with an ankle injury and, with Moseley attacking hard and moving the ball out wide at last, the opportunities fell to no-one quite fast enough to get to the line. Thomas’s fifth penalty from six attempts brought Moseley within four points but they could not pierce Esher’s strong defence.
Esher went to the top of National 2 on the strength of their six victories but Moseley’s bonus point for losing by seven points or less plus their other four to Esher’s one, placed them level on points illustrating the value of bonus points, in Moseley’s case, equal to a one win advantage over their promotion challengers.
Esher were impressed by the volume of Moseley’s support, including the “voice” of Phil Hall. Many of their supporters, we were told, never venture North of Watford!
Esher (13) 26 Tries: McCullum, Starling; Con: Hallett 2; Pen: Hallett 4
Moseley (13) 22; Tries: N Bressington; Con: Thomas; Pen: Thomas 5