Esher 14 Doncaster Knights 23: Griffiths’ case for the defence as Knights march on

Bruno Bravo was on the trysheet for Doncaster.
Bruno Bravo was on the trysheet for Doncaster.

Clive Griffiths paid tribute to his side’s defensive effort as SSE National League One leaders Doncaster Knights left Esher with another victory under their belts.

Saturday’s clash had the potential to be a tricky one with the Knights labouring to a 19-11 victory at home earlier in the campaign.

But three first-half tries from Bruno Bravo, Michael Hills and Dougie Flockhart settled any nerves as the Knights headed back home with a 23-14 victory under their belts.

But rather than the tries his team amassed, it was the sole score in reply from the hosts that most pleased Welshman Griffiths.

“It was a good win,” he said.

“There were a few things that contrived for us not to get a bonus point – some lax finishing and other things out of our control. I seem to be saying it every week.

“Esher took the game pretty seriously and it wasn’t an end-of-the-season game by any means.

“I’ve got to pay tribute to our defence because the only try Esher scored was when we dropped the ball in the tackle and they hacked it through to score.

“Other than that I’m delighted with the win and delighted to keep the eight-point gap on Rosslyn Park.

“We didn’t get much of the ball as we were always on the back foot with a constant stream of penalties.

“We didn’t have the right field position but we broke loose a couple of times but didn’t finish, which is disappointing.

“We were living off scraps in the second half and unfortunately we didn’t get that all-important bonus point. But at the end of the day we’ve come away from Esher with a win, which not many teams have done this year.”

The two packs locked horns from the word go and Esher’s front row got the better of both sets of opposite numbers, with Stuart Maguire also making several bullocking runs up field.

Esher’s Thomas Whelan slotted a penalty in the eighth minute before Doncaster’s Bravo nipped through to score in the 14th minute, Flockhart adding the extras.

In the 21st minute Michael Hills extended the visitors’ lead, finishing quickly wide on the right.

Esher’s Joseph Brown immediately returned the compliment, intercepting on the halfway and sprinting home.

Whelan kicked another penalty to bring the scores within a point but then Flockhart broke through to score for a 17-11 half-time lead.

Flockhart was then carded for trying to punch Esher’s Neil Sweeney but it didn’t cost his side as Paul Roberts and Flockhart kicked a penalty apiece with Whelan kicking one for Esher before the game was out.

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