Rosslyn Park missed out on a great opportunity to leap to second place in National One, with Blaydon surprisingly losing at home to Cinderford, when they lost 32-19 at Esher on Saturday.

In fairness, Park’s cause was not helped by the early losses through injury of key forwards Richard Boyle and Hugo Ellis.

The early play was all Park and they were on the scoreboard after six minutes when a superb run into the 22 on the left by centre Steve Parsons was switched by half-backs Matt Heeks and Dan Mugford for Ellis to run onto the ball and power over on the right - full-back Sam Katz added a conversion for 7-0.

Park were straight back at Esher, but then had to defend desperately, a man short while Edwards received treatment, when possession was turned over. A penalty saw home fly half Luke Daniels reducing the arrears to 7-3 on 11 minutes.

Some poor play by Park gifted Esher the lead - a kick out of defence was returned to touch with compound interest in terms of distance.

From Park’s defensive line-out, the throw went right over the top to allow grateful home centre Tom Cheeseman to score a relatively straightforward run in and give Daniels a simple conversion for 10-7 to Esher.

The home side began to press, but a superb break out of defence by Edwards saw the winger bundled into touch inside the home 22.

It was a blow to Park when lock Richard Boyle immediately had to limp off with a hamstring injury, and a penalty saw Esher belt the ball deep into Park territory for their first really concerted attack.

Park weathered the storm and when Esher were penalised close to halfway, Katz nailed a long distance penalty to tie up the scores at 10-10 on 24 minutes.

Park returned to the attack but a superb run out of defence by full-back Charlie Walker, aided and abetted by some poor tackling, saw it all end with a Park scrum around their own 5m line.

Esher took it against the head and number eight Mike McFarland’s try in the left corner was allowed on the intervention of the touch judge.

A double blow to Rosslyn Park saw Ellis leaving the field clutching what looked like a dislocated digit.

Park were still not yet done for - Esher successfully defended an all-out attack, a good run by Edwards nearly bore fruit but Park again failed to exploit their own line-out.

Eventually a big drive into the 22 brought a penalty for Katz to bring the scores back to 15-13 with five minutes to the interval.

The visitors were straight back. A great run by Mugford nearly put Charles Broughton in, but Park kept up the pressure to win another penalty for Katz to kick his team to a 16-13 lead at the interval.

Esher came out all guns blazing for the second half, almost immediately forcing the visitors to concede a penalty in front of their own posts, but Daniels’ kick hit the upright.

An attempted Park clearance failed to find touch, then they were pushed off their own scrum, Esher flung the ball wide and fly half Daniels exploited a huge gap in the defence, converting his own try to restore Esher’s lead on 46 minutes at 22-16.

It was now almost all Esher, but Edwards unleashed a break up the left which led to a penalty to keep up Park’s hopes at 22-19. But 5 minutes later Esher unleashed a telling attack through the middle before flinging the ball wide for winger Andy Wright to get over and run round unchallenged to place the ball between the posts for an easy conversion to take the score to 29-19.

Park tried to come back, but made the sort of errors that seem always to occur when playing catch-up rugby. But when Esher countered, driving forward into the Park 22 the visitors were penalised and up stepped Daniels for 32-19.

Park at least avoided the sort of nightmare end that has dogged their recent away trips, finishing by gamely laying siege to the Esher line.

Two penalties close to the line were tapped to keep up the pressure; Laurence Ovens breached the line but was held up and then a final chance went begging with a knock on, which led to the final whistle.