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Your News Schmid's salute

MIKE SCHMID hailed his Esher side after they secured their

Championship status with a stunning triumph at Plymouth.

The Surrey side bounced back from their shocker at

home to Moseley to claim their third play-off success with a

magnificent 27-14 bonus-point victory.

It sent Esher top of the relegation play-off group and ensures the

pressure is off in Saturday’s final home game against Birmingham, who

were relegated last Sunday following their defeat at Moseley.

Schmid was delighted with the display at Plymouth as tries from Ricky

Nebbett, Tim Tunnicliff, Mike Blakeburn and Sam Ulph ensured survival.

Schmid said: “The performance was as good as we produced all season and

I’m proud of the lads and the way they handled the pressure.

“It’s a big relief because we didn’t want to take things down to the

final game against Birmingham.

“I’m also very proud of what we have accomplished this season as a semi-

professional side. We have had some exceptional wins against the likes

of London Welsh and Cornish Pirates.

“The foundation of the win at Plymouth was solid defence and I think we

only made a couple of defensive mistakes all game. We also matched

their physicality.”

Schmid now wants his side to finish the season in a high by beating

Birmingham on Saturday and finishing the campaign on top of their

relegation group.

He said: “I know it’s mentally tough for both teams because it’s a dead

rubber but it’s a chance for us to go out and play the kind of rugby we

can.

“Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd down and we can put on a good

performance for them.”

Esher were dragged into the relegation play-offs despite finishing

ninth and 16 points clear of bottom-side Birmingham in the regular

season and Schmid believes the RFU need to adjust the system for next

season.

Each side took points into the play-offs for wins in the regular season

so Esher started with seven points, Plymouth six, Moseley five and the

Bees four.

But Schmid feels the system flawed. He said: “In my opinion the side

who finishes bottom after 22 games should go down.

“You have 22 games so stay up and then you get another chance in six

play-off games and I’m not sure that’s particularly fair.

“But if we do have the play-offs I think sides should be more rewarded

more for their league performances and not given just one point per

win.”

Schmid has already started planning for next season and will be holding

contracts talks with players over the next few weeks.

But Esher will be without New Zealander Richard Mayhew, who joined the

club in January on a short-term deal but who has just signed a contract

with Premiership strugglers Newcastle.

Schmid said: “I’ll be looking to retain the core of the guys and

hopefully they will be keen to stay with us. I hope we can sort things

out fairly quickly and make a couple of new additions to give us more

strength in depth.”

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