Esher 26 Wharfedale 28

Here were two sides determined to put the previous week’s dismal performances behind them on a surface as good as they will see all season.

The home side raced into a 10-0 lead but Wharfedale were not fazed and spent most of the remainder of the first period in the home half, assisted by a yellow card to flanker Synnott.

Scoring chances were few until Tom Barrett made a searing half-break on the 22 to put Joe Donkin clear with a short pass.

On 40 minutes the same pair repeated the same feat to put the Greens 14-13 up.

However, Aaron Myers received a yellow card and Esher went for the jugular, touching down from a five-yard scrum to go in 20-14 ahead at the interval.

Although another penalty goal was conceded before Myers returned, Esher knew they would have their work cut out to preserve a proud home record which had seen them lose only to Doncaster.

The hosts received two yellow cards in quick succession and Wharfedale took immediate advantage to send winger Josh Prell in near the left touchline, Tom Barrett adding the points.

As often happens, the depleted side played with great application and scored next from a penalty to make it 26-21.

However, a second yellow for Esher lock Alex Bibic saw Wharfedale exert control over the tiring home forwards as Dan Stockdale was driven over from close quarters, Barrett adding the points for a 28-26 lead.

Still the drama went on as the hosts were awarded a last-gasp penalty close to the Wharfedale ten-metre line but, with goal-kicking full back Luke Daniels off injured, his replacement pushed the ball well wide.

Dale coach Jon Feeley was well pleased with his charges, with fine performances all over the pitch.

Makeshift lock Josh Burridge showed what a talented all-rounder he is with a faultless display at altitude; the scrummage was excellent against the much heavier pack and Tom Barrett was a constant threat, not only setting up the two tries for Donkin, but creating long breaks for Prell and Stockdale which they were unlucky not to finish.

A special mention goes however to the back row, who despite pressure at the set piece, consistently showed what a classy act they really are.