Championship: Moseley 17 Esher 29
Ill-discipline cost Moseley as they started the new season with a defeat, going down to Championship new boys Esher at Billesley Common.
The visitors punished Moseley with all their points coming in the wake of penalties. Esher led by 16 points at the interval despite being thoroughly outplayed in the set piece throughout the first half.
However, the visitors looked far more dangerous with the ball in hand, full-back Michael Whitehead pushed Moseley back with a series of clever kicks while centre Neil Taylor cut through the home defence at regular intervals.
Esher opened the scoring with a penalty in the 9th minute, which was kicked by Whitehead. From the resulting kick off Esher counter attacked and wing Samuel Smith scored from halfway.
Whitehead added the conversion to make it 10 points in a minute and leave Moseley shell-shocked Moseley despite dominating the opening exchanges.
Moseley battled back into the match through their pack, which marched Esher’s backwards with a series of punishing rolling mauls and they were only not to open their account when centre Andrew Borgen made a good break and chipped ahead only for Whitehead to drop on the loose ball first.
The home side’s superiority in the scrum finally bore fruition with the half-hour mark approaching as the forwards won a number of penalties five yards from the tryline. Finally, with Esher on a final warning from the refereee Number Eight Chevvy Pennycock picked up from the base and drove over for the score.
However, a disastrous ending to the half saw Moseley concede 11 points in eight minutes while Esher were down to 14 men with flanker Christopher York yellow carded.
They again paid for their ill-discipline as a penalty gave Esher the platform to move the ball wide where Whitehead fed wing Jonathon Hylton who went over in the corner.
Two more needless penalties in injury time made the half-time score 5-21.
Ian Smith’s half-time talk made an impact though as a fired up Moseley came out for the second half and again dominated in the forwards.
Bard Davies closed the gap, dummying his way over from close range but was unfortunate to see his attempt to convert his own try rebound off the post.
Moseley battered away at the Esher line and were met with some fine, committed defending. Eventually Esher’s defence could hold the close range drives no more and David Lyons burrowed over, this time Davies added the extras.
Having down the hard work penalties once again cost the home side as they went offside in front of the posts, which cost three points before another set up the line-out from which an Esher rolling maul sent David Millard over.