DIRECTOR of Rugby Seb Reynolds was delighted with his Rams’ side as they stayed in the hunt for the National One title with a come-from-behind 33-19 triumph at Esher.

On a day of high drama, two Pierre Thompson scores, the second added to by Sam Morley, gave the relegation-battling Eees a 12-0 lead inside the first quarter.

Rams responded as two of their players of the season – James McRae, courtesy of a trademark 40-metre break, and Axel Kalling-Smith – combined for the Swedish wunderkind to add another special to his highlight reel.

But Josh Jordan’s converted score made it 19-5, only for Connor Stapley to dot down before Drew Humberstone added the extras before the break.

Despite trailing, Rams had enjoyed the bulk of territory and possession against an Esher side belying their lowly league position, and when Humberstone converted his own try midway through the third quarter, the game was level.

The visitors then made a decisive move around the hour-mark, Zach Clow brilliantly finishing a move on the left – Humberstone with a belter of a conversion – before a stunning fifth try was conjured by Rowan Grundy.

The fly-half’s deft chip over the defence was marvellously collected by the brilliant Henry Bird, and the selfless full-back then passed for replacement Ollie Monye – enjoying a rich vein of late-season form – to swan dive under the posts.

Humberstone made it 33-19, and while Esher battled away, they could not avoid falling through the trap door back into National Two despite a performance which suggested they were far better than a bottom-three finish.

Reflecting on the way his side held their nerve, Reynolds said: “You don’t want to be 12-0 down, but in a way you felt it could go like that – the game meant a lot to Esher because they were playing to stay up and with that comes a very unique motivation which you only get to experience a few times in a career.

“They moved the ball around, played some great rugby and it was another wonderful advert for National One.

“They deserved to be in the lead at half-time and we had to grind them down, but we did that well and then some great line breaks from the likes of Henry and Axel put the pressure back onto them.”

He continued: “We also had to win – and we’ll see what happens (with Cambridge) next week, but it made for a fantastic, intense, and emotional game and they were superb especially early on.

“The comeback was good. We felt they might fatigue towards the end – although we were ourselves – but we capitalised on some errors and saw the game out.

“I’ve no doubt Esher will bounce back because they showed they’re a great side even though it went our way.”

While there were a litany of fine performances among the Rams’ ranks, Monye again caught the eye off the bench and the DoR said: “Ollie’s developing well, starting to push now in the conversation (for the starting jersey) and we wanted to get him on early because he’s got a zip – he was excellent when he came on.”

With hundreds – possibly up to 500 Rams’ supporters descending on Molesey Road – the atmosphere created was once again outstanding, and Reynolds concluded: “We’ve taken a step forward regardless of what happens, and I cannot say enough about the Ramily who have followed us all around the country. Thank you!”

Rams’ victory means Cambridge – who secured a superb 31-10 bonus-point success at Plymouth Albion – must repeat a five-pointer at home to mid-table Birmingham Moseley next Saturday if they are to secure the title.