ESHER overpowered a hardy Cinderford at Dockham Road in a 12-try thriller.
Despite closing the deficit to 39-32 in the final 10 minutes, the Foresters had to be content with a try-scoring bonus point while the visitors went back to Surrey with five points.
Playing an unchanged starting XV from last weekend’s 24-24 draw with Tyendale, the Foresters were first to get points on the board. Esher strayed offside and Wilcox split the posts for three points.
Referee Shane Lewis issued Esher with a warning after he was forced to dole out four penalties in quick succession and Cinderford capitalised.
Will Davis crashed over from the five-metre catch-and-drive but Wilcox’s conversion sailed wide.
Esher hit straight back four minutes later, loose head prop David Millard crossing the whitewash from another driving maul, with full-back Luke Daniels kicking the conversion.
Just six minutes later an Esher training ground moved executed perfectly caught Cinderford by surprise and gave the visitors the lead.
Scrum-half and former Cinderford man Patrick O’Grady skipped over and Daniels’ touchline conversion was taken superbly.
Cinderford had to react and they did four minutes later. Davis went close, but the ball was recycled and Wilcox’s somewhat wayward pass was gathered expertly by centre Jack Adams and he drove over the line in the corner. The deficit was reduced to just one point, but agonisingly, Wilcox’s touchline conversion hit the upright.
Daniels let Cinderford off the hook by missing a penalty but Esher’s quick ball and free-running play was putting Cinderford under pressure as the first half entered the final 10 minutes.
Esher fly-half Mickey Wilson squirrelled through to cross the line and Daniels converted.
Cinderford then lost their heads in the final few moments and allowed number eight Michael McFarlane to sneak through a gap to give Esher their fourth try.
Daniels successfully converted to make the score 26-13 at half-time.
Cinderford’s defence was stretched to its limits in the opening phases of the second half.
An attacking Esher line-out piled over, with Millard again placing the ball. Daniels kicked wide again.
Cinderford had to respond at 31-13 down. Tom Hicks made an excellent carry but was stopped just short as he looked around wildly for support. The ball was recycled into the corner and Andy Balumakau grounded the ball, but the tricky conversion sailed wide.
Replacement winger Nev Codlin was warned for taking out a man in the air and Esher kicked to the corner. The ball squirted out of the driving maul and found its way to pacy full-back Daniels to score a try but his conversion was yet again booted wide.
Codlin made amends from his costly penalty with a blistering run through the centre towards Esher’s try-line and Davis eventually touched down for his second and the team’s fourth try, with Wilcox adding the extras.
Cinderford’s front row began to buckle under the pressure of the visiting pack and Esher’s efforts were rewarded with a simple kick in front of the posts, taken with ease by Daniels to extend their lead to 39-25.
Cinderford’s driving maul once again smashed through, hooker Tom Bozzard getting his name on the scoresheet with Wilcox adding the extras. Now Cinderford were within seven points for a losing bonus point.
But Esher shattered those hopes and put the game out sight.
A clearance kick from their own 22 was well chased by the backs, and Daniels pounced as it trickled over the try-line. The simple conversion was easy for the full-back who enjoyed a prolific game in the 15 jersey.
CINDERFORD: S Hawley, A Bulumakau (N Codlin, 47), J Adams, R Winchle, S Baker, M Wilcox, D Pointon (C Stuart-Smith, 74), W Davis (J Smart, 57), T Bozzard, E Booley, E King, T Hicks, R Birkin, W Keenan, A Balding (c)
ESHER: L Daniels, S Sutherland, F Strange, A Wright (T Whelan, 67), A Mogensen, M Wilson), P O’Grady ( J Macmanus, 74), D Millard, J Campbell (S Edwards, 74), O Mines (S Maguire, 45), I Kench, K Chesney (G Drye, 65), C Gentles, P Synnott, M Macfarlane
REFEREE: Shane Lewis
STAR MAN: Will Davis