Had Park got the 5-point win the form book suggested they might, they would have gone top of the table. Instead, they slumped to a defeat that sees them drop to sixth, four points behind the leaders.

While Park certainly endured a bad day at the office, much credit for that must go to a superbly organized and committed Esher defence.

In the first half Park were playing into a strong wind. They had as much, if not more, possession than did Esher, but could not find a way through.

The stalemate was eventually broken by a superb run from visiting winger Karym Irvine, streaking down the left. He could not quite make the line, but laid-off the ball and the other winger, Joe Beckett, finished things off for 5-0 on 14 minutes.

Park huffed and puffed, but Esher increased their lead to 8-0 on 23 minutes through a well-struck penalty from fly half Paul Roberts.

Hopes were raised for Park when centre Peter Weightman broke away, but a superb try-saving tackle kept the Esher line intact.

It was a dour struggle, but there was no reason not to think Park could pull back eight points with the elements in their favour in the second half. But when, on the stroke of half time, Roberts added a further penalty for 11-0 it became a bit more difficult.

Park looked very lively at the start of the second half, but one incident sums up their afternoon. Awarded a penalty just in from the touchline inside their own half, Full-back Ollie Grove was asked to use his prodigious kicking skills to propel the ball to the corner for the catch-and-drive. It took only a minor mis-calibration and the wind did the rest to carry the ball out beyond the try-line for an Esher scrum inside Park’s half. Nothing would go right.

Eventually Park gained a penalty in enemy territory and fly half Greg Lound reduced the arrears to 3-11.

Five minutes later, with hooker Tom Vaughan-Edwards laid out and receiving treatment, Esher took advantage to press the Park line and eventually number 8 Harrison Collins found a way over for 18-3 on 55 minutes.

Hard as they tried, Park’s backs just could not pierce Esher’s defensive wall. With 5 minutes remaining, the forwards took over and a terrific drive saw skipper Adam Frampton touch down, converted by Lound for 18-10 and a glimmer of hope.

With a minute to go, and Park committed to attack, that glimmer was extinguished when the impressive Irving broke away to score from long range, replacement Owen Waters converting for 25-10.

Park returned to the attack, and won a penalty on the stroke of time. It was dispatched to the corner for the catch-and-drive and Frampton grabbed his second try underneath the melee. Lound converted for 25-17 but it was too little, too late.

Park need to re-group before the long trip to Plymouth Albion on Saturday. Albion were in the top three last season and widely fancied to challenge for the title this term. They have yet to display the consistency this season to match that expectation, but on their day they can beat anyone.