Esher head coach Ollie Smith has warned his men must find their ruthless edge if they to be National Division One title challengers.

The Molesey Road men are the league’s big fish since last year’s relegation from the Championship, but have made a modest start to the new campaign.

Smith’s men came close to relinquishing a 37-point advantage as they edged a 14-try thriller 54-41 against Old Albanians on Saturday.

Esher conceded four tries in the final 20 minutes of a game they had led 54-17 thanks to scores via Dave Millard (two), Rob Kirby (two), Andy Wright, a penalty try, Ollie  Richards and Charlie Walker.

The departure of fly half Luke Daniels in the 68th minute – with what initially looked like a broken leg – sparked the comeback that left Smith with mixed emotions at the final whistle.

“We’re pleased that we’ve got the win and the five points also. First and foremost it’s about winning, and that’s always the number one goal,” he said.

“I thought we looked like a title-winning side for an hour and we put on a real show.

“Some of our tries were really top drawer, especially the last one for Charlie Walker which started way back on the other side of the pitch.

“Yes, we’re disappointed that we let them have a run around in the last 20 minutes and that’s something that we will look at this week.

“If you look at the best teams, and New Zealand are terrific at it, they will always kill off opposition once they have a foot on the throat.

“We should have done that today but we eased off a little.

“But credit to them as they really did show their attacking skills to great effect.”

Esher have something of a shortage in the backs with fly half Gareth Morgan currently sidelined and centre Arran Cruickshanks out for the season.

But scans later proved Daniels should not face long on the treatment table.

“It looked a nasty one when it initially happened,” added Smith.

“Because there were a lot of medics on the pitch sorting Luke out and the amount of time it took, it seemed he might have had a real

“Thankfully he was walking in the clubhouse post-match – albeit with crutches – and a scan confirmed there is no break.”
Esher make the long trip to Blaydon tomorrow.