Esher might have shipped 20 points at the weekend, but coach Ricky Nebbett is adamant his men start the new year in a much better place than in 2013.

Tries from Mickey Wilson, Tom Cheeseman and Andy Wright secured a narrow 24-20 National Division One triumph over Blaydon on Saturday – a fourth victory in succession.

Esher, who led 17-3 at half time, had to hold off a spirited fightback from the visitors early in the second half, left Nebbett believing his men have improved on last year’s vintage, writes Harry Nightingale.

“Over the past three or four weeks we have had a slightly bigger focus on our defence and I think we are there or thereabouts,” he said.

“There are still improvements to be made, but I am relatively happy about our defence.

“The two tries at the beginning of the second half were probably defensive errors, but if you look at the game as a whole then defensively we were much better and where we need to be to compete in the top four.”

The result kept Esher third  in the table and still in
the hunt for automatic promotion.

But Nebbett has warned  against complacency creeping in ahead of this week’s trip to Old Albanians.

“It was all about getting the four points,” he added.

“Five points would have been great, but against a gritty team, we knew we were good enough.

“There are a couple of areas I am not happy with – particularly the first 10 minutes of the second half.

“It is easy to focus on the win and the fact we played a good team, but you have to be realistic and look at yourselves.”

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