Major travel delays meant Fylde arrived late at Esher’s Molesey Road Ground and things went downhill from there for the visitors. The Surrey club scored early tries and built up a lead of 31-0 by half-time. Fylde struggled to contain the Esher pack throughout. The 2nd half continued in the same fashion but two Fylde tries brought a degree of consolation in another difficult National One afternoon.
It took Esher six minutes to open the scoring when fly-half Stephen Boatman drifted through the Fylde defence following forward pressure and he touched down near the posts. He converted his own try for a 7-0 lead. Three minutes later, Esher centre Joseph Brown kicked behind the Fylde defence and winger Kariym Irving won the race to the touchdown.
It was one way traffic as the Esher pack took control and extended the lead in the 16th minute when hooker Will Harding found space down the right to score following a lineout. Boatman missed his first conversion kick but his side already had a 19-0 lead.
It wasn’t simply the Esher pack that was dominant as their backs joined in the fun. In the 20th minute fullback Monks finished off a smart move with a good try. Fylde lock Nick Ashcroft was forced off with an injury to be replaced by Matt Garrod. Prop Mark Irving followed him shortly after as Jake Pope joined the action.
Fylde had a period of pressure inside the home team’s half but were thwarted by a stern Esher defence. But play then switched to the other end of the pitch as Esher improved their lead in the 32nd minute when, from an unstoppable driving maul, Harding claimed his 2nd try of the game. Stephen Boatman added the extras for a 31-0 half time lead.
The 2nd half continued in the same vein when the impressive Boatman notched his 2nd try of the game when he intercepted a Fylde pass to score. He made the conversion and his team had a 38-0 advantage.
The most dramatic moment of the game was in the 52nd minute when Tom Carleton, in his first senior game at scrum-half, raced 70m through a startled Esher defence in a superb piece of individualism. Fly-half Alex Dolly missed the conversion but at least Fylde were on the scoreboard.
In the 63rd minute another Esher driving maul edged towards the Fylde line and prop Karl Furey was last man up.
Fylde didn’t give up and in the last few minutes launched their own driving play which ended with Jake Pope forcing his way over for a try. By this time, Dolly had given way to Danny Carlton and he added the conversion.
But Esher concluded the afternoon’s entertainment for the home crowd by having the last laugh as winger Irving scored his 2nd try and his side’s 8th in added injury time. Stephen Boatman had a personal haul of 20 points.
Fylde Head Coach Warren Spragg said: “It was not a good day all round! Delayed trains, nearly two hours on a bus to cover 15 miles and arriving less than an hour before kick off is unsettling for the most experienced of teams but it certainly affected some of the lads yesterday. We were missing the spark and edge we have been showing in training over the past few weeks and never gave ourselves the chance to get into the game. But we also have to credit Esher for putting together a strong all round performance, pressurising our attack and playing a lot of purposeful phases which really threatened our defence.
“The two upcoming home games against Bishop’s Stortford and DMP now take on even greater importance and I will be looking for the players to demonstrate their strength of character with how they approach the next two weeks, as it will certainly be a high pressure environment. It will be a test of leadership for the coaches and senior players and I am looking forward to seeing how we respond to the challenge!”