Wharfedale took the honours in a match that was competitive from the start. The defences of both sides were magnificent and this was the reason for a low score and only one try.
Esher had the advantage of the slope and the breeze in the first half and as Esher coach, Michael Schmid, said after the game they created chances to score but careless mistakes cost them dearly.
They could have been 10 -15 points up at half time but poor finishing restricted them to two penalties from the boot of Ian Cross.
Wharfedale went into half time trailing by a point. A catch and drive was finished off by Dan Solomi. Esher held on to the lead as Jamie Guy’s conversion just slid past the posts, a good effort into a difficult breeze.
The second half was another thrilling period of old fashioned rugby. Defences stood tall. Both sides tried to use the ball and get width but tackling was resolute and attacks rebuffed.
The only score of the second half came in the fourth minute. Wharfedale won a five metre line out but the catch and drive was held. Dale’s pick and go was scrappy but the Southerners allowed them a moderately easy shot at goal by going offside.
A game fought at close quarters often leads to ill feeling but both teams held their self discipline. The only yellow card of the game was given to Wharfedale’s Taylor Prell for foul play.
Full report and comments appear under Fixtures.
A selection of photographs from the match is available via the gallery tag at the top of the page.
Wharfedale: Taylor Prell (Josh Prell 66); Lloyd Davies, Cameron Hudson, Tom Davidson, Oli Cicognini; Jamie Guy, James Doherty (c); Matt Beesley (Matt Freeman 59), Ian Larkin (Dan Stockdale 59), Jake Armstrong (Joe Altham 65), Adam Howard (Matt Beesley 65, Matt Beesley77), Simon Willet, Jack Barnard, Dan Solomi, Jim Mason (Alex Powell 56).