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London Scottish v Esher – Saturday 3pm: Preview

London Scottish v Esher – Saturday 3pm: Preview

This coming Saturday sees London Scottish take on their close rivals Esher, in what promises to be an exciting and feisty encounter, in one which the fireworks are sure to fly as it is bonfire night. With both sides being in the bottom four of the Championship, Scottish will be determined to come out on top and record their third home victory of the campaign.

This coming Saturday sees London Scottish take on their close rivals Esher, in what promises to be an exciting and feisty encounter, in one which the fireworks are sure to fly as it is bonfire night. With both sides being in the bottom four of the Championship, Scottish will be determined to come out on top and record their third home victory of the campaign.

The fixture on Saturday is the third match to be played this season between the teams so far, with honours even to date. The first encounter saw Scottish over come Esher in a pre-season friendly 13 -15 at Molesey Road as both sides were ramping up their preparations for the forth coming campaign. Esher gained revenge in the British & Irish Cup when they overcame Scottish 43 -10 again at Molesey Road as both sides gave their wider squads game time.

MPU

Saturday will see the first league fixture between the clubs since mid January 2010 when the clubs last locked horns with the Surry outfit taking the spoils 15 – 38 in a National league 1 fixture. It is interesting to look at the teams who turned out for their respective clubs and it clearly highlights the transient nature of club rugby in the higher echelons of the club game in England. For Scottish, only Gary Trueman, James Brown, Ben Lonergan and Head Coach Simon Amor remain at the club from the list players in the match programme. For Esher the change is even more noticeable with only back row Sam Stitcher and hooker Kevin Corrigan listed in their match day squad for their last Championship match against Doncaster Knights last weekend. The Esher side in the January 2010 fixture contained a number of dual registered players from Harlequins who have gone onto be regulars in the Harlequins team, with prop Joe Marler and Sam Smith turning out in the in Harlequins 19 -13 defeat of Exeter Chiefs last Saturday.

On to the match on Saturday: who should the Scottish supporters look out for in the current Esher team? Diminutive winger Sam Edgerley has been staring for team and has recently been training with the England Sevens squad and provides the club with a potential try scorer in every match with an amazing turn of speed. Unfortunately, Canadian internationalist centre Phil McKenzie was concussed in the match with Doncaster and has been ruled out of the fixture. Other outstanding players in the Esher team are number 8 Mike MacFarlane who moved to the club over the summer from Loughborough Students. The home Scottish supporters will have their first opportunity to see the new backline in operation, which includes the exciting centre pairing of Guy Armitage and Elliot Daly who excelled in the second half of last weekend’s thriller at Nottingham. Argentinean winger Augustin Gosio will be looking to make it a hat trick of tries, as he has already bagged two already in his two previous outings for the club.

The game on Saturday will be a tough and uncompromising challenge for Scottish, as Esher will be looking to break their losing record in the Championship and achieve their first league win of the season. For Scottish they can take heart from their performances so far and when the errors are eliminated they can produce some scintillating play, as demonstrated in the second half of last weekend’s narrow defeat away at Nottingham. Given the proximity of the clubs, there promises to be a large crowd at the Richmond Athletic Ground and all Scottish supporters are encouraged to get down to the ground and cheer on the team. Another victory on Saturday will close the gap on those teams above them in the league table and further league points gained. C’mon Scottish! See you all there.
 

London Scottish 32 – 17 Esher

London Scottish 32 – 17 Esher

London Scottish recorded a comprehensive victory over their fellow local rivals Esher 32 -17 in a feisty match. The victory was based upon a tremendous performance by the Scottish forwards, who out matched their opposite numbers in the scrum setting up the backs to run in the bonus point try in the second half.

London Scottish recorded a comprehensive victory over their fellow local rivals Esher 32 -17 in a feisty match. The victory was based upon a tremendous performance by the Scottish forwards, who out matched their opposite numbers in the scrum setting up the backs to run in the bonus point try in the second half.

On a dull overcast autumn day, London Scottish played towards the sports club end of the ground as Esher kicked off.  From the kick off Esher took possession, however they were penalised for holding onto the ball at a subsequent ruck, giving Scottish the opportunity to clear their lines.  Scottish were awarded a penalty on the 5th minute as Esher showed the first signs of pressure in the scrum, when they collapsed the opening scrum of the match.  The first threatening move by Scottish came on the 10th minute, when Ollie Grove made a good chip over the oncoming Esher defence, however a covering defender caught the ball and was bundled into touch.  Shortly afterwards, Scottish were caught offside midway between the 10m line and the 22m line in their own half, giving centre Richard Mill his first penalty kick attempt.  Mills missed with his conversion attempt, as the ball drifted to the right of the posts.

MPU

 After 15 minutes the Esher flanker Ian Kench went off injured to be replaced by John Downey, however the loss of Kench did not appear to unsettle the away side as they continued to probe away at the Scottish defence.  Esher made a great break through the centre of the Scottish defence on the 19th minute, as their forwards off loaded between the supporting players, but knocked on in the Scottish 22m area.  Esher opened their account on the 23rd minute when the Scottish forwards were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck with Mill converting.  The Scottish forwards were starting to exert tremendous pressure on the Esher forwards in the scrum and yet again the Esher scrum was penalised for collapsing a set piece on the halfway line.  Full back Ollie Grove took the conversion attempt, with the ball soaring between the posts to put the sides on equal terms.  

On the 34th minute a minor melee took place on the pitch after the Esher prop Robin Boot took out the Scottish prop Aaron Liffchak with a late tackle close to the touchline, leaving Liffchak prone on the ground requiring extensive medical attention.  After a period of consultation by the match official, Boot was spoken to by the referee, but no further action was deemed appropriate other than a penalty to Scottish.  Shortly before the half time whistle the Scottish backs showed their true class when fly half James Brown made a great half break and passed to centre Eliot Daly who raced past the covering Esher defence scoring an excellent try 10 metres in from the touchline.  Brown missed the conversion attempt.  Grove then made a great run down the left wing after catching the ball in his own half and made over 50 metres before being bundled into touch.  Just before the half time whistle another “handbags at ten paces” erupted on the halfway line close to the team dugouts, after centre Ollie Brown was tackled without the ball.  After the incident calmed down, Esher were awarded a penalty with Mill again missing his attempt, to leave the half time score 8 – 3.

Scottish made two tactical changes at the break, with centre Guy Armitage replacing try scorer Daly and fly half Dan Mugford replacing Brown.  The Esher side were clearly fired up at the start of the second half and dominated the opening 10 minutes of the half.  Esher scored a very good try on the 48th minute when fly half Mark Atkinson side stepped through the Scottish defence to score just to the right of the uprights.  Mills added the extras to put Esher 8 – 10 ahead.  Immediately from the restart the Scottish forwards took the play into the Esher 22 metre area, with second row Josh Brown in prominence.  The ball was eventually moved out to the backs, and as they probed the Esher defence on the right in the oppositions 22 metre, the Esher Hooker Stuart Mackie was yellow carded for a late tackle on Mugford and was despatched to spend the next ten minutes on the sidelines.  Scottish made the Esher side pay for their misdemeanours with flanker and captain Lewis Calder capitalising in loose play at a lineout on the stand side of the ground in the Esher 22 metre area.  He scooped up a bouncing ball and raced through to score to the left of the posts.  Mugford converted a difficult conversion attempt to put the home side 15 – 10 ahead.  The Scottish forwards were in complete control now, as they made their one man advantage in the scrum tell.  Esher were penalised for the umpteenth time in the scrum on the 57th minute, immediately in front of the posts with Mugford pushing Scottish  further ahead to 18 – 10.

Scottish now had the Esher side on the back foot as the Scottish forwards took three consecutive scrums five metres out from the away sides try line, and the referee’s patience was finally broken when he awarded Scottish a penalty try after Esher deliberately collapsed the scrum at each one.  Mugford added the extras to put Scottish 25 – 10 in front.  On the 70th minute Calder was deliberately pulled down in the air at a line out and Mackie was very lucky not to have seen his second yellow card of the match.  Fair play to Esher, as they fought to get themselves back into the match and their pressure paid off in the 72nd minute when Mill charged down a Mugford clearance kick in his 22 metre area collecting his charge down to score by the right post.  Mill converted his try to put his side back in the match at 25 -17.

From the re-start, Scottish went back up the field and scored their bonus point try.  This was the best try of the match as the Scottish backs showed their true class with the ball being quickly moved through hands out to replacement winger David Howells who put on the after burners and raced past a number of Esher defenders.  As he ghosted into the Esher 22 metre area, he passed the ball inside to his fellow replacement back Matt Heeks who was on his shoulder diving over out wide.  Mugford converted a difficult conversion to leave a final score of 32 – 17.  This was a tremendous performance by the whole Scottish match day squad, who for consecutive weekends have put over 30 plus points on the score board.  This victory closed the gap between themselves and the team immediately above them in the league, and the team achieved the spoils which their play over the past few weeks has deserved.  London Scottish will now take a week off from the league campaign, as they take on Llanelli next Sunday in a British & Irish Cup fixture.  Look out for the match preview later in the week.

To purchase tickets for Scottish's next home game againat Bristol on Sunday 27th November (2pm kick off), please click here

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