Old Elthamians went level on points with Rotherham at the top of the National One table after this hard fought victory over a resolute Esher side.

The Old Boys enjoyed plenty of possession and territory for the first hour of this uncompromising encounter but were unable to shake off the visitors who fought back strongly in the final quarter.

A tight, edgy opening 40 minutes was dominated by two aggressive defences and the sound of the referee’s whistle at regular intervals for a succession of unforced errors and infringements.

It was Elthamians who took a deserved 12-3 half-time lead thanks to two well-worked tries. Winger Dom Lespierre opened the scoring on 13 minutes after a strong run from centre James Golledge off the back of a lineout midway inside the Esher half.

They were made to wait until the 34th minute however, before extending their lead when flanker Harry Ledger finished off a sweeping move started by centre Kieran Moffat in his own half and continued by hooker Nathan Morris and Lespierre. Esher’s only points coming shortly before the half-time whistle with a penalty by fly-half Owen Waters.

When lock Michael Kovacic was driven over under the posts after strong work from his pack in the Esher 22 just three minutes after the restart, Elthamians looked to be well in control leading 19-3.

But Esher then enjoyed their best spell of the game and OEs full-back Charlie Dockery was twice called upon to make try-saving tackles on wingers Kariyrm Irving and Joe Beckett down both flanks.

Eventually, however, the visitors were rewarded for a concerted period of pressure on the edge of the OEs 22 when winger Beckett crossed in the corner on 60 minutes following a strong drive from George Head.

Tom White gave Elthamians some much needed breathing space when he kicked a penalty on 69 minutes and although the visitors finished the game pressing strongly in the OEs 22, they could find no way through the wall of blue and gold shirts.