Forwards coach Ricky Nebbett was left to rue six minutes of madness as Esher let victory slip through their hands at home to Rosslyn Park.
Esher had been on track to earn a hard-fought victory over their National Division One title-chasing opponents, following tries from Patrick O’Grady and Ian Kench and 20 points from the boot of Thomas Whelan.
However, Rosslyn Park dug deep to produce two more tries of their own in the closing stages to take the 38-30 bonus point victory.
It was a hard one to take for the Esher players with Nebbett conceding late errors had proved his side’s undoing.
“It is hard to know what to say to the guys there now, because for 95 per cent of the game I thought we had done enough to win,” said Nebbett.
“Ultimately it came down to six or seven minutes of madness where we coughed up possession too easily and we missed tackles and we let them back in.
“As a result we have come away with a loss when we should have seen out the win.
“A few minor errors cost us in the end there. Obviously we let the guy run through the middle of us from kick-off at the end and as soon as they were in behind us we struggled.
“You look at the things that have gone against you, and I am going to have to assess things after having a look at the video, but ultimately I think it was just a couple of individual errors which cost us the game.”
Esher had got the early points on the board through Whelan’s first penalty of the day, but were reduced to 14 when Kench was sent to the sin-bin, leaving Park to pounce with a converted try.
The game proved to be a tight contest and, with Whelan rattling off three more penalties in quick succession to Park’s one, the hosts turned around 12-10 up at the break.
It was then the Park’s turn to split the posts with two penalties before Kench got Esher’s first try on 49 minutes, converted by Whelan.
Tussle: The clash of the rivals
O’Grady added a second 10 minutes later as well as two more Whelan penalties, but Park hit back with two tries of their own to leave the scores finely balanced at 30-26.
But while the late drama came down on the wrong side for Esher, Nebbett could still find the positives from a narrow defeat.
“To lose to a second place team 38-30 is nothing to be ashamed of,” he added.
“We could have easily turned Doncaster over at our last outing at home. If we keep playing like that, we will not have too much to worry about as a team.”
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