Darlington show fighting qualities
DARLINGTON’S rousing late comeback from 24-3 down ended their threematch losing streak.
Four minutes in, a loose Darlington pass in midfield was intercepted by Max Coyle, who went over untouched, Paul Roberts converting for 7-0.
The fly-halves traded penalties, Roberts extending the lead before Warren Seals made it 10-3.
When prop Ralph Appleby was sin-binned, Esher made their numerical advantage count, Rob Dudley powering over and Roberts kicking the extras for an interval lead of 17-3.
Still a man short, Darlington were punished out wide, Graham Logan scything through and Roberts bisecting the posts for 24-3.
Following a flurry of Darlington penalties, Joseph Duffy broke off from a driving maul to reduce the deficit to 24-10 after Seals added the two.
They scored again through Brandon AsherWood, though Seals failed to convert.
Dogged Esher defence, marshalled superbly by Jack Cooke, held a man up over the line, but the resulting scrum was pushed over for a penalty try and 24-22.
In a frenetic finale, Seals knocked over a late penalty for 25-24.
An attempted kick out then almost fell for an Esher attacker, but agonisingly bounced dead.