CANTERBURY 17 ESHER 28
These sides have swapped divisions but it was relegated Esher who shaded this pre-season friendly. A last minute try, gifted to the visitors by an embarrassing handling mistake, made the difference.
Canterbury’s two yellow cards and missed conversions did not help their case either as the Surrey side won the try count by four touchdowns to three.
Until the last quarter Esher enjoyed the bulk of possession thanks to good work at the breakdown and the city side’s handling errors. When they did manage to retain the ball Canterbury were dangerous and made the first statement when Sam Sterling’s break sent Will Scholes over for a converted try.
With former Bristol fly half Tristan Roberts orchestrating their attack, Esher drew level with a penalty try which earned a yellow card for city scrum half Kyan Braithwaite for a deliberate knock on. The visitors quickly took advantage with a second converted try and when Sterling was sin binned they pushed their lead to 14 points with a third score. Canterbury, putting the squeeze on the Esher pack, took charge of the late stages. A Braithwaite dart created a try for Frankie Morgan and Sam Kenny got the reward for heavy pack pressure. From the restart, however, came the handling howler and Esher made full use of their luck.