Esher fired up to face Bristol
Mike Schmid has told revitalised Esher to play without fear in Sunday’s big clash at Championship pacesetters Bristol.
The Surrey side finished the year on a huge high by claiming their first win of the campaign in a 24-12 home victory over his old side Rotherham last weekend.
That followed the stunning 13-13 draw at high-flying local rivals London Welsh on Boxing Day that ended a run of 14 straight defeats.
Now Schmid has called for the same approach at mighty Bristol as Esher aim to pull off a shock win at one of England’s most famous clubs.
Esher’s director of rugby admitted: “We always said when we get most of our players back we would be strong enough to be competitive in this league and it was a huge win for us against Rotherham.
“We showed our character and the commitment was superb. It was a well-deserved win which has re-energised the guys.
“Obviously playing Bristol away is a big game for anyone but I want the boys to let it all hang out and play our own brand of rugby.
"We must just go out there and play as hard as we can and see what happens.”
Esher have just six league games remaining and badly need victories with each one worth a point going into the end-of-season relegation play-offs in March.
Fellow strugglers Moseley and Plymouth have both won five games while local rivals London Scottish have four victories.
Schmid said: “Ideally we want to get two or three more wins from our remaining games to keep pace with the other teams before the play-offs.”
Esher’s revival has been coincided with the recent return of several players from injury with Dave Millard and Ian Kench now fully fit.
Schmid has also been boosted by the availability of several dual-registered Harlequins players with lock Charlie Matthews, full-back Ross Chisholm, prop Will Collier and wing Charlie Walker all featuring against Rotherham.
Esher have also been lifted by the loan signing of London Irish lock Tom Alexander, who can also play in the back row.
Schmid added: “Tom’s a gem and has been a real find for us. He’s on a week-to-week loan but we hope we can have him for the rest of the season.
“It’s also been great to get players like Dave Millard and Ian Kench back from injury while the Quins boys have been fantastic.”
Kench scored a try in the victory over Rotherham with Canada star Phil Mackenzie also touching down. Mark Atkinson booted two penalties with Pete Synnott also kicking two and adding a conversion.
Esher line-up: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Andy Wright, 13 Tom Cheeseman (Capt), 12 Arran Cruickshanks, 11 Charlie Walker,10 Mark Atkinson, 9 Jamie Mackenzie, 1 Cameron Zeiss, 2 James Campbell, 3 Will Collier, 4 Ian Kench, 5 Charlie Matthews, 6 Tom Alexander, 7 Peter Synnott, 8 Mike Macfarlane.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Nebbett (FR), 17 Shawn Renwick, 18 Chris Goodman, 19 Kevin Corrigan (FR), 20 Geoff Griffiths, 21 Nicky Little, 22 Andy Garner.