This coming Saturday London Scottish complete their pre-season preparations with a tough match against their fellow Championship rivals Esher. The match will allow the coaching team to fine tune the squad ahead of the Championship kick off on the 4th September.
Esher Rugby club were formed in 1923 when a group of rugby enthusiasts decided to establish the club. One of the four founding forefathers of the club was a Welshman and being from Newport the club adopted their black and amber club colours. During the past 30 years the club has bought its ground and erected a 1200 seated stand, and were the first club in London to erect floodlights. Throughout the club’s rise up the league pyramid it has always retained the feel of a traditional rugby club and regularly turns out seven sides on a Saturday afternoon. The club reached the second tier of club rugby in England in season 2007/08 and remained there for two seasons. Midway through the 2008/09 season, the RFU announced the creation of the Championship and five teams would be relegated at the end of the season. Unfortunately for Esher they finished 5th from bottom of the league and although finishing 40 points ahead of the bottom two teams, the club was to play their rugby in the newly created National League 1. Esher immediately bounced back and won 29 out of their 30 league games, including the two matches against Scottish. Last season, Esher finished 9th in the Championship, but comfortably achieved safety during the relegation play offs finishing 13 points ahead of relegated Birmingham & Solihull.
The Director of Rugby Mike Schmid has been at the club since 2005 and has developed a number of successful teams during this period. The club has a close working relationship with Harlequins, which has seen a regular flow of young Harlequins Academy players being dual registered with The club. Mike Schmid has brought on these players and the most notable of the recent crop is prop is Joe Marler, who is now a regular in the Harlequins team and is on the fringes of international recognition. During the summer Esher lost two of their most influential players. Kiwi number 8 Richard Mayhew moved to Newcastle Falcons with centre Seb Jewell moving to Championship rivals London Welsh. On the inbound side, four dual registered players have joined the club from Harlequins; hooker Rob Buchanan, prop Will Collier, lock Charlie Matthews and winger Charlie Walker. Other players joining are centre Tom Cheeseman released by Harlequins, back row Chris Goodman from Bedford, lock Ian Kench from Nottingham, hooker Stuart Mackie from Nice, fly half Mark Atkinson from Wasps and centre Andy Wright from Doncaster.
The Esher ground is on Molesey Road in Hersham, Surrey. For those driving and using SatNav enter the postcode KT12 3PF. Non techies driving and coming from the M25 should leave at junction 10 onto the A3 heading towards London. After one mile turn left onto the A245 and after 1/4 mile turn right at the traffic lights onto the B365. Turn right at the small roundabout into Burwood Road and follow this road into Hersham Village, bearing right into Molesey Road. Keep straight on at the large roundabout and once past Hersham Railway Station the ground is 300 yards on the left. For those coming by rail, Hersham Railway Station is on the London Waterloo – Woking line. Turn right under the railway bridge and again the ground is 300 yards on the left. It is anticipated that there will be a large Scottish following at the match and your attendance is greatly appreciated by the coaching staff and players.
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