By MARK BENGOECHEA
February 24 2012
Esher's view of the match on Saturday. To join the travelling support email firstname.lastname@example.org
FLYING winger Phil Mackenzie has called for Esher to step up the pressure as they aim to create Championship history at Molesey Road on Saturday.
They face fellow relegation strugglers Plymouth hunting three successive wins for the first time since the restructuring of the English leagues.
Mike Schmid’s side followed up the crucial derby win over London Scottish with a stunning 24-22 triumph at Leeds on Sunday.
Now they are gunning for the hat-trick against Plymouth to set them up perfectly for next month’s relegation play-offs.
Canada star Mackenzie, who scored his 10th try in the last 12 games and fourth in the last three, insists bottom-side Esher must keep up the momentum as they aim to complete the great escape.
Mackenzie, 25, said: “It was great to get such a good win against a very good team and it’s one of the most memorable since I’ve been at Esher. We were ecstatic afterwards.
“Now we must build on those two wins by backing it up against Plymouth. To win three in a row would be massive in terms of confidence ahead of the play-offs and we can’t afford to take a step backwards.
“Everyone is fully committed and we’ve got some stability in the squad now. But when people are injured, others are stepping up.”
Esher have won three and drawn one of their last seven league games, a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after 14 successive defeats.
Their three league wins so far gives them three points to take into the relegation play-offs, where they will face London Scottish, who have won five, while Moseley and Plymouth currently have six victories.
The form of Mackenzie, who enjoyed a superb World Cup with Canada, has been one of the main factors in Esher’s resurgence.
Mackenzie, a centre who is equally at home on the wing, added: “I’m happy with my form and if I keep scoring, even happier. I’m not too fussed where I play.”
Director of Rugby Schmid said: “Phil’s a very talented, hard-working boy and an exceptional tryscorer. He’s certainly hitting form at the right time for us.”
Schmid was delighted with the victory at Headingley but insists the players will not get carried away. He said: “We’re not getting too excited or ahead of ourselves.
“We always said when we got the core of the side back we would be competitive in this league but the boys know that there is still a lot of work to do.”
Esher could be boosted by the return of dynamic prop Will Collier after a back problem against Leeds.
Schmid also has three other dual-registered Harlequins stars, Nic Mayhew, Seb Stegmann and Rob Buchanan, available.
However, Mackenzie’s younger brother Jamie misses out with a calf injury whilst lock Tom Alexander has failed to shrug off an ankle problem.
15 Luke Daniels
14 Sebastian Stegman
13 Thomas Cheeseman
12 Arran Cruickshanks
11 Philip Mackenzie
10 Mark Atkinson
9 Clive Stuart-Smith
1 Nick Mayhew
2 James Campbell
3 Ignacio Elosu
4 Ian Kench
5 James Inglis
6 Sam Stitcher
7 Peter Synnott
8 Michael Macfarlane
16 William Collier (FR)
17 Robert Buchanan (FR)
18 Matthew Symons
19 Shawn Renwick
20 Nicky Little
21 Jonathan Hylton
22 Patrick O’Grady