Jacko's Verdict vs Esher
Esher went away from Volac Park with a well-deserved eight try haul and five points, but Cambridge gave them a fright and racked up four tries and a bonus point of their own in the process.
A first minute penalty from Rob Kirby got the visitors underway, and tries from Michael MacFarlane and Andrew Wright had them well ahead inside the first fifteen minutes.
But the Blood & Sand rallied and crossed through Albert Portsmouth who crashed over after Elliot Bale’s drive for the line was halted.
Bale then put Pat Tapley away and the winger fed Jimmy Mayhew to further reduce the arrears.
Gareth Morgan, and then MacFarlane’s second on the stroke of the half, saw Esher ahead at the break but when Portsmouth burgled his second of the afternoon eight minutes into the second period, the visitors had to dig deep for their win.
Wright’s second gave them some breathing space, captain Ian Kench added a sixth then hat-trick scores from MacFarlane, and Wright again, put the result beyond doubt.
There was still time for Portsmouth to complete his own treble in a massively entertaining contest that made a mockery of Cambridge’s league position.
But the bulk and power of Esher, still sculpted for the Championship, saw them through an afternoon that was trickier than the score-line suggests.
FT 29-51 HT 17-27
Referee Craig Matthew Keys
STAR MAN – Albert Portsmouth (Cambridge)
M Ayrton, Tapley, Portsmouth, G White, J Ayrton, Bale, Docherty; Fidler, Palmer, Cutts, Marriot, Conquest, McComb, Mayhew, Hipwell
Replacements – Cooper, Taylor, Jenkins, White, Gillick
Kirby, Wright, Richards, Elder, Sutherland, Morgan, Garner; Maguire, Campbell, Zeiss, Gemtles, Chesney, Kench, Smart, MacFarlane
Replacements – Millard, Edwards, Sweeney, Frost, Brown
Tries - Portsmouth 18, 48, 81 Mayhew 26
Cons – Bale 19, 27, 49
Pen – Bale 37
Tries – MacFarlane 6, 40, 71 Wright 8, 58, 73, Morgan 33, Kench 65
Cons – Kirby 7, 41, 59, 74
Pen – Kirby 1
Steve Jackson, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and The Rugby Paper