Rotherham Titans made it four wins on the trot as they scored 7 tries in a 45-15 drubbing to overwhelm a tenacious Esher side at Molesey Road.
Titans secured the four try bonus point inside a pulsating first half performance, before running in another 3 dot downs in the second half.
The victory sees Rotherham move into fourth spot in the table, just 2 points behind league leaders Caldy after 8 games and with all to play for in what will be a very long and demanding season.
The game itself saw Esher enjoy spells of possession, particularly in the first half; however, a massively impressive defensive display from Rotherham, which exuded commitment and desire, kept the hosts at bay for much of the match.
Rotherham showed a ruthless edge to their game and were clinical in taking opportunities when they arrived, the first of which came along after just 4 minutes.
Seb Nagle-Taylor was on hand to charge down a clearing kick on halfway before racing through to hack on and collect, he then delivered a delightful back-of-the-hand pass to Joe Barker in support, allowing him to race in from 20 metres to dot down. Alex Dolly added the extra 2 points from the tee.
Esher’s only score of the first half came on 11 minutes when fly half Owen Waters knocked over a straightforward penalty after Rotherham had infringed at the breakdown.
Titans soon extended their advantage though, when 4 minutes later winger Henry Roberts collected a high ball on the Esher 10 metre line and proceeded to show good pace to charge around the home defence to score Roth’s second try, with Dolly tagging over the extras.
Things got even better for the Titans 10 minutes later when Nagle-Taylor intercepted a pass just inside his own half before showing impressive pace to gallop in from 55 metres, whilst evading the home winger’s chase down from Kariym Irving, to score under the posts. Dolly made it three from three from the tee.
Five minutes before the break and Rotherham secured the try bonus point when from a scrum close to the line Nagle-Taylor collected from the base before feeding Dolly who scampered up the blind side to score in the corner. Unfortunately for him his conversion from the touchline narrowly missed its target and Roth went in at the break 26-3 to the good.
If Esher were to work their way back into the game it was vital they scored first in the second period. However, that wasn’t to be as it took Rotherham just 18 seconds to open their second half account!
From the kick-off Titans gathered and Alex Dolly reacted quickly to fire a pass inside to Nagle-Taylor who came into the line at full throttle and proceeded to charge through to score Rotherham’s fifth try of the match. Dolly tagged over the extras.
On an afternoon where almost everything went the way of the Titans, things improved further when Connor Dever picked up from the base of a scrum close to the Esher line, before snipping up the blind side to touch down in the corner. Dolly’s touchline conversion just missed its target to leave Rotherham 38-3 to the good.
A slight blight on a terrific afternoon for the Titans came when front rower Jack Bergmanas received a yellow card for a high tackle. The subsequent 10 minute period saw Esher take full advantage of their numerical advantage as they crossed the whitewash twice through second rower Cameron Gentles and livewire winger Joe Beckett.
However, it was apt when Rotherham rounded things off with the final try of the game.
Following a number of phases where Rotherham’s backs and forwards combined effectively, the ball came out to Henry Roberts who picked a fine line to cut through to score under the posts. Dolly nailed his fifth conversion of the match to end the scoring and send Rotherham on their long journey home with smiles on their faces.
Commenting post-game Titans’ Joe Barker explained, “We knew Esher had a lot of threats in certain areas, but we concentrated on ourselves this week. I thought our work rate and desire was outstanding and that shone through in our defence. The lads wanted to work hard for each other and that got us the points today.
“Esher found it difficult to threaten us because the boys worked so hard to get in the right positions. The lads were always on their feet and worked their socks off in defence and that caused them to make errors and we kept scoring on the back of them.
“I was really pleased with our discipline and because that was good we didn’t allow them the field position they needed to hurt us. We’ve worked hard in training on various aspects of how we want to play and I think we are now seeing the benefits of the squad coming together as a group.
“But no one at Rotherham is getting carried away and we know we’ll face a massive challenge in our next game against Plymouth. So it all starts again on Tuesday night at training and we’ll work harder, that’s the only way we’re going to get better.”
Referee: Jack Lewars
Yellow Card: Bergmanas (Titans)
Titans: Nagle-Taylor (2T), Roberts (2T), Barker (T), Dever (T), Dolly (T, 5C)
Esher: Gentles (T), Beckett (T), Waters (P, C)
Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker (Dever 45), 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Dan Richardson (Poole 70), 2 Ali Thomson (Bergmanas 55), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 41) (Stout 70), 4 Jamie Ure, 5 Tom Cotterill (Keys 60), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole (Thomson 68), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.) (Smith-Wano 50).
Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Conor Keys, 19 Eru Smith-Wano, 20 Connor Dever.
Esher Rugby: 15 Lloyd Davies (Simpson 45), 14 Kariym Irving, 13 Dan Rowland (Davies 68), 12 Basil Strang, 11 Joe Beckett, 10 Owen Waters, 9 James Brooks (Fluker 45), 1 Matthew Lowes, 2 Devlin Hope (Clements 55), 3 Henry Paul (Head 25) (Paul 70), 4 Graham Logan, 5 Cameron Gentles, 6 Harrison Collins (Hore 55), 7 Rob Dudley-Jones, 8 Izzy Moore-Aiono.
Replacements: 16 Brad Clements, 17 George Head, 18 Andrew Hore, 19 George Simpson, 20 Andy Fluker.