Peter Gavin previews Worthing Raiders v Esher

Worthing Raiders v Esher RFC
9th November 2019
Kick-off 2pm

Esher RFC are our visitors this week, travelling just down the road from their base in Molesey Road, Hersham, Surrey. This will be their 2nd visit to Roundstone Lane for a National league fixture, we played them in season 2013/4 when we paid a short visit to National 1 (level 3).

We also played at Esher in 2008 in the EDF National Trophy. There were league fixtures in the 1990s when the clubs were in the London league (level 5). Esher were relegated from National 1 last season and are no doubt looking for a swift return to that level.

History and Background stuff
The club was formed in 1923 when, apparently, four rugby enthusiasts agreed to start a club. Their names are not disclosed on the web, but one member of the quartet was Welsh and an avid Newport supporter. He insisted that the club should adopt the Newport strip of ‘Amber & Gold’, the colours that are used almost 100 years later! Most clubs in this era, started life using a farmer’s field and the local pub for post-match discussions, but such information as it may apply to Esher is not readily to hand. In the amateur days the club was proud to field up to 15 teams on a Saturday, which must have caused quite a crush in their clubhouse! It also must have provided them we an extensive list of members, many of whom are now Patrons or Vice Presidents of the club. Television and Radio presenter John Inverdale and former England international Simon Halliday are Directors.

Their extensive facility includes 5 full sized pitches within the 23-acre site, along with a substantial club house that provides facilities with 3 separate dining suites and bars. The club has obtained planning permission to erect a 2,000 seater spectator stand that will also incorporate a gymnasium, hospitality and conference suites, changing facilities and bars. The area is surrounded by tall poplar trees that have become home for a substantial flock of rather noisy parakeets. The origin of the birds in London is unknown, but folklore has it that the original pair escaped from Ealing Studios during the filming of African Queen in 1951.

The club turns out 4 Senior XVs most Saturdays (1st XV, Cardinals, Abbots, Expendables). Junior/Mini Rugby taking over on Sundays. In 2018 a Ladies team was formed Esher Lionesses.

League History
At the outset of the league system in 1987, Esher were placed in London 1 (level 5) but were relegated that season and it took until 1993 to return. They were promoted to the National League system in 1997/8 and have retained that status ever since. They settled at National League 1 (level 3) from 2000 until promotion to what is now Championship (level 2) in 2007. They were rather controversially relegated in 2009 when the league size was changed mid-season, but bounced back to level 2 the following year. After relegation again in 2012, they have enjoyed relative success in National 1 (2nd in 2013) until relegation last season. (The club have won the Surrey Cup 8 times, last in 2012.) Over the years they have maintained a strong link with Harlequins.

Worthing v Esher over the years…….
As mentioned above we entertained Esher in the London league in the 1990s but the exact detail on the result/s and players involved seems to have been caught in the shredding machine. However, detail on the cup match in 2008 and the league encounters in 2013/4 has been uncovered. Esher prevailing in all three encounters:

12th January 2008 EDF Trophy……. Esher RFC 39 Worthing RFC 8
Even though there were three league levels separating the clubs, the visitors fancied a ‘giant killing’ raid. Not to be, although the scoreboard was probably a little unkind, as the home side rattled in 3 tries in the final 12 minutes. For the record the players were:

Esher: Neil Hallett, Stuart Turton, Kevin Fisher, Toby Clouston, Douglas Flockhart, David Hewitt, Graham Barr, Graham Dewes, Michael Mayhew, Jamie Pearson, Mark Butterworth, Paul Barker, Mike Blakeburn, Tom Yellowlees, Mark Soden.
Bench: Andrew Alexander, Emmanuel Amapakabo, David Millard, James Campbell, Simon Gaynor, Ian Barnes, Richard Briggs.

Worthing: Ben Coulson, Matt Farnes, Will Harris, Alex Dawkins, Phil Williams, Jamie Steward-McDonald, Todd Murphy, Ryan Storer, Simon Allcott, Adam Halsey, Dan Roberts, Charlie McGowan, Jody Levett, Jamie Redmayne, Peter Altona.
Bench: Joe Burns, Shaun Bennett, James Taylor, Will Smith, Matt Jones, Alex Neilsen, Andrew Rogers.

Turning to the league encounters in season 2013/4.

19th October 2013 Worthing Raiders 19 Esher 25
Raiders found the step up tough and were eventually relegated, but this encounter was mighty close, 19-20 for the last 15 minutes, Andy Wright darting in for an unconverted try at the death.

Raiders: Iain Greenwood, Fin Coxon-Smith, Kiba Richards, Ben Dudley, Alex Neilsen, Kieran Leeming, Joe Govett, Peter Cleveland, Matt Miles, Ben Sargent, Will Stutchbury, Scott Barlow, James Chisholm, Sam Hewick, Liam Perkins.
Bench: Jamie Redmayne, Rob Smith, Kerry O’Sullivan, Chris Sewell, Ben Loosmore.

Esher: Luke Daniels, Andy Wright, Ashley Smith, Mickey Wilson, Anders Morgensen, Tom Whelan, Robbie Shaw, David Millard, Neil Sweeney, Oliver Mines, Cameron Gentles, Kris Chesney, Mike MacFarlane, Steve Wood, Brandon Walker,
Bench: Simon Edwards, Stewart Maguire, Richard Smart, Patrick O’Grady, Paul Olima.

1st February 2014 Esher 36 Worthing Raiders 19
A match remembered for yellow card distribution. Referee Mr. Matthew O’Grady administered five, Raiders winning this contest 3-2. Spectators present may also recall Saracens legend Kris Chesney and Raiders lock Scott Barlow having a difference of opinion, both were despatched to cool down. The match was close at oranges (17-16), but 3 second half tries saw the home side victorious.

Esher: Morgansen, Wright, Tom Cheeseman, Aaron Cruickshank, Spencer Sutherland, Whelan, O’Grady, Jacob Caulfield, Sweeney, Maguire, Alexander Bibic, Chesney, Gentles, Peter Synott, MacFarlane.
Bench: James Campbell, Millard, Wood, Joseph McManus, Freddie Strange.

Raiders: Greenwood, Jack Maslen, Loosmore, Ollie Richards, Coxon-Smith, Leeming, Govett, Cleveland, Miles, Sargent, Barlow, Simon Gaynor, Sewell, Hewick, Smith.                                                                                                                                                                                              Bench: Mikey Pointing, Joe Heaver, Ryan Ball, O’Sullivan, Redmayne.

Esher finished the 2013/4 season in 5th place with 18 wins and 88 points. Raiders were relegated in 15th spot on 55 points from their 7 wins which included the double over Fylde, who finished 3rd and a memorable win against Coventry (39-12) who finished 4th…. Bizarre!

Last season P30 /W11 15th 61 points…. Relegated
Esher achieved the double over Sale and also came out on top against 9 other clubs in this very difficult tier 3 league. Included in the wins was an amazing (49-48) event against Ampthill who won promotion. They also lowered the colours of 3rd place Rosslyn Park on their new plastic pitch (17-25). They won (22-24) in the last match of the season at 4th placed Blackheath, but other results went against them for relegation to follow. In many seasons 60 points is seen as the benchmark, but Esher would have needed 65 points to overtake Cambridge.

Top try scorer was Joe Beckett with 11 (followed by ex-Raider Kariym Irving who had 8). Topping the appearances was scrum half Jack Walsh with 29, followed by forwards Charlie Gossington and Cameron Gentles who both put in 28 shifts.

This season so far……P9 /W7 4th 33 points (Raiders 11th 17 points)
Under the guidance of new coach and England legend, Peter Winterbottom, Esher have made a satisfactory start and are poised within striking range of leaders Tonbridge Juddians who have 38 points. Last week Esher entertained table topping Taunton Titans and grabbed a win (10-8). The renowned goal-kicking heart breaker Gary Kingdom actually missed a very kickable conversion at the end of the match that would have tied up the scores. The matches lost have been at Redruth (10-8) and at Bury St Edmunds (24-14). In what is building towards a very interesting season in the upper reaches of the league, Esher still have to play TJs and Henley Hawks.

The players
A list of the players used in the last match against Titans is provided along with details on a few more players who have been used in recent fixtures.

As would probably be expected several players used last season have either retired or moved to pastures new, but influential scrum half Jack Walsh and experienced lock forward New Zealander, Cameron Gentles are still in the fold. In the last couple of fixtures Harlequins Academy member, centre, Lennox Anyanwu has been making an impression. In the back-row Cameron Wilkins, not long out of Whitgift School, has also stated his case appearing in every fixture.

Winger Tom James is leading the try scorers with 10 and experienced fly half Tristan Roberts is leading points scorer with 60, although he has missed the last couple of fixtures with a concussion injury.

Once again another exciting fixture awaits the faithful and who knows what may happen after Raiders fantastic effort last Saturday at Clifton. Whatever, this will be a tough afternoon at the office and as usual the boys will appreciate your support from the touchline or the balcony.

It has the makings of a great occasion as there are likely to be a fair number making the short trip to the coast to support our Esher friends. Let’s make it an occasion to savour….

Please try and get along to add your support, remember it’s a 2pm kick off so arrive in plenty of time…bar, food and hot drinks available.

………..C’Mon Raiders.



*played v Raiders

Apps 2019/20 Tot app Join Points Honours Position/Previous Clubs                      

 *Played v Raiders

Played v Titans 2nd November WON 10-8
Corey Venus (25) 3/1R 4 2019 Scot U20 Full Back: Birmingham & Solihull*22, South Leicester 24, Stourbridge 5, Leicester Lions 3, Nottingham 4.
Tom James (29) 5 5 2019 8T Welsh Unis Wing: Ebbw Vale, Newport, UWIC, Bond University (Aus)
Dan Rowland (24) 5/1R 43 2017 1T   Centre: University of Bath, Chinnor
Lennox Anyanwu (18) 3/1R 4 2019 1T England U18 Centre: Christ’s Hospital School, Harlequins Academy
Joe Beckett (26) 8 66 2016 3T England Students Wing: Newcastle University, Ponsoby (NZ)
Sam Druce (26) 2 2 2019 3C/1P England Uni RL Fly Half: Leeds Beckett RL, St Mary’s RL, London Skolars RL
Jack Walsh (27) 6/3R 38 2018 1T England 7s & Counties Scrum Half: Wasps, London Welsh 1, Blackheath*160.
Matt Lowes (25) 8/1R 46 2016 2T   LH Prop: Caldy 51
Andy Hamilton (23) 2/2R 4 2019   Hooker: Blackheath 2, Taunton Titans*31.
Xavier Valentine (21) 7 7 2019   TH Prop: Yorkshire Carnegie 1, London Scottish 2
Cameron Gentles* (29) 7/1R 170 2012 4T   Lock: Amersham & Chiltern
Ben Donnell (19) 5/1R 9 2018   Lock: London Irish 1, LIWG 1
Lorcan Dow (24) 7/1R 8 2019 Ire U20 (10 caps) BS Wing Forward: Richmond 4, Ulster7.
Cameron Wilkins (20) 8/1R 9 2019 3T Kent U20 OS Wing Forward: Gravesend, Loughborough Bucs, Leicester ‘A’, Whitgift
Max Berry (24) 1/1R 11 2018 England Counties U20 No 8: Loughborough Students 8, London Scottish 5, Henley Hawks*6.
Devlin Hope (29) 7/2R 64 2017 3T Surrey Golden Lions Hooker: Darlington MP 2, London Scottish 5, Coventry 25.
Cameron Leigh (24) 0/1R 87 2015 1T Surrey England Counties TH Prop: Reading
Oliver Moody (19) 0/1R 1 2019 England Counties U18 Lock: Old Albanian 2, Haileybury
Gus Locke (21) 1/1R 2 2019 1P   Fly Half: Old Reigatians, Wanderers (Newcastle Aus)
Tom Mitchell (25) 1/1R 1 2019   Full Back: Esher Cardinals
Rob Dudley-Jones (25) 2/4R 26 2018 26th Oct Wales U20 No 8: Ospreys 2, Aberavon 5, Swansea
Ross Parsons (29) 0/1R 1 2019   26th Oct Surrey XV Scrum Half: Old Albanian 10, LIWG *10, Welsh Academies Swansea, Eastern Suburbs (Aus)
Martin Freeman (34) 2 2 2019   26th Oct Wing: Stourbridge 57, Richmond 38, Cambridge 8.
Callum Monks (24) 2 35 2016 19th  Oct Full Back:
Sam Bullock (24) 3/4R 10 2018 1T 19th Oct Scottish Students Scrum Half: Glasgow University, Glasgow Hawks, Dubai Exiles
Dan Lamb (20) 3/3R 6 2019 19th Oct

England Count U20

Prop: West Park Yorks
Ben Davies (22) 4/1R 5 2019 1T 19th Oct Wales Students OS Wing Forward: Ospreys Academy, Dunvant, Hartpury, Swansea
Tristan Roberts (32) 6 6 2019 3T/23C


19th Oct Fly Half: Ealing 14, London Welsh 16, Doncaster Knights 30, Gloucester 1, Moseley 54, Cinderford 30, Bristol 62, US Cognac (FR)
Charlie Gossington (27) 4 108 2011 1T 5th Oct

Eng Count Surrey

Back Row: Harlequins ‘A’, Chipstead