1st XV Match Preview V Esher (Home) Sat 28/08/2010 



by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v  Esher -  RFU Championship, at Billesley Common - Saturday, Saturday 28th August , k. o. 3pm (but come for lunch!)

Where has the magnificent early summer gone to? It has passed so quickly and here we all are at the start of the 2010 – 2011 rugby season with an intriguing home match against newly promoted Esher in this, the second season of the RFU Championship.

Immediately following this first match Moseley’s fixtures against Doncaster (a), Cornish Pirates (h), Bristol (h), Bedford (a), and Worcester (h) are very demanding so a good start would be needed if the club is not to find itself in the lower reaches of the Division by mid-autumn.

Esher Rugby Club is based in Surrey and was formed relatively recently in 1923, when four enthusiasts agreed to form a rugby club from scratch. The club was first promoted to the National Leagues system for the 1997-98 season.

During the first game of last season Esher broke countless records when beating Manchester 148-Nil in National League One and subsequently being promoted to the Championship in April.

Recent history has suggested that the higher a club is promoted up the League structure and into the Championship the more difficult the players find it to consolidate the new status. When Esher’s promotion was confirmed it was initially thought that this would apply this season and the Surrey men would be candidates for relegation.

However funds have been put in place to strengthen an already competitive squad to ensure this fate is avoided. Esher made twelve new signings in the close season, the most significant of which are former England Saxons scrum half Stuart Smith, who has joined from Exeter, and Australian hooker Alex Walker from Newcastle, with Premiership experience.

Last Saturday Esher beat Lille 45-17, bouncing back from a tough encounter the week before at Saracens, when eleven tries were conceded. Consolidation to an eighth or better place in the league this season is the stated target and it is not an unrealistic ambition.

For Moseley, the run up to the start of the season proper has gone well in spite of niggling injuries to several players which are taking time to heal. However there will be no complacency and thoughts of a relatively easier fixture against a team playing its first match in the Championship away from home. Life in professional rugby union is not like that anymore.

Moseley last played Esher in season 2008-09 in National League One, when both home teams won; Moseley at Billesley Common 22-13 and Esher in Surrey 17-23. So games have always been close between the clubs.

Club members and regular supporters will be very interested in the squad selected for this first game and the mix between well established and new players and the tactics chosen. The practice matches against Cambridge (24-29 a) and Aberavon (28-10 h) have left the impression that the club has recruited well and that several of the newcomers will soon become firm favourites. Equally, Kevin Maggs, the new backs coach has quickly made his mark.

At the time of writing the squad and starting line up have not been announced, but it is highly likely that Terry Sigley and Adam Caves will join Nathan Williams to reform one of the best front rows in the Championship. Other returnees should include Nathan Bressington on the wing and Andy Reay in the centre.

Another aspect of Championship games likely to be closely watched this season is the number who have confirmed their membership of the club and the size of the paying gate. If anyone reading this review is wondering what they can do to help Moseley to achieve success this season, apart from shouting ‘come on Mose!’, it is to encourage a friend to join them at Billesley Common on home Saturday afternoons.

Enjoy the season!

To receive weekly e-mail updates, sign up for Moseley Matters (Click Here)


First time at Billesley? Read our "Welcome" Page (Click Here)

For information on gate prices - (Click here)
Discuss it on the Message Board (Click Here)


Hit Counter