In 1923, four rugby enthusiasts met in a pub (where else!) and decided to form a rugby club. One of them, a Welshman insisted that the club colours should adopt his native Welsh club's colours. Which is why Esher adopted the Black and Amber of Newport.
Looking for a pitch on which to play they found a friendly farmer's field, which, when not being used for rugby, was used for grazing cattle (which added new dimensions to the hazards of the game?). For changing rooms they used two bedrooms and a bathroom in a local pub, and thus Esher RFC were in business.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Esher had moved to it's present site and were fielding eight sides, but war disrupted activities and the pitches were ploughed up for food production.
After the war the club restarted and by the 1950s Esher were back on it's re-sown pitch and, with a huge influx of players, ran as many as fifteen sides each Saturday.
During the past 30 years, Esher has bought it's 23 acre ground, built it's 1200 seater stand, become the first club in London to erect floodlights and have hosted more and more representative matches, including an England trial, 2 Churchhill Cup matches; Russia vs Canada and USA vs Tonga as well as many England Ladies matches.
With the introduction of the league system, Esher were placed in London League One but, after relegation in it's first year, it took until 1993 to regain London One status. In 93/94 season the club won the Surrey Cup and was elected Rugby World and Whitbread Brewery 'Junior Club of the Year'. The club remained in London One until it's promotion to the National Leagues in season 1997/98, finishing fourth in that season.
In the 1998/99 season the club finished second in the Jewson National League Two, finishing one point behind the winners. Having led for most of the season it was disappointing not to win it. The first XV scored a total of 1017 points and conceded only 377. In that season the club's supporters and players enjoyed the thrill of playing Harlequins in the Tetley Bitter Cup, going down bravely in defeat.
In the 1999/2000 season the club put the disappointment of the previous season behind them and the club gained a worthy promotion to National League One. The side finishing five points clear of their nearest rivals. The side bettering the previous season's record by scoring 1018 points with only 356 against.
Season 2000/2001 was a new adventure for the club. After gaining promotion to National Division Two we all knew it would be different. Opposition sides were tougher and well drilled, but Esher rose to the challenge and finished a creditable 8th. A story of the season was losing too many games by one score. This run seemed to start when we lost an epic 3rd round cup game against Waterloo by one point in the 4th minute of injury time.
In Season 2001/2002 we aimed to be in the shake up and recruited well. Interestingly one of our league opponents for the season were Waterloo who had been relegated: a good test to see how far we had come.
In 2002 our (still quite new) club house was complemented by new top class fencing around the 1st XV pitch. The success in the growth of our Mini & Junior section put pressure on playing space and to meet this need we finished developing two new pitches and a training area. We are proud to now have five playing pitches, including our newly refurbished first team pitch.
With the arrival of Mike Schmid as the Director of Rugby in 2005 the 1st XV saw a turnaround in their fortunes, firstly finishing third in the league - the highest league finish since 2002/3 and their best ever performance in League Two. Capitalising on this vast improvement Mike Schmid took the players on further to become National Division Two champions 06/07, and securing them a place in 07/08 National Division One, competing with the likes of London Welsh and Northampton. Esher finished this season mid-table having won a third of their matches.
In 08/09 Esher were sitting a comfortable 5th from the bottom of the table, 25 points clear of the bottom 2 teams, and therefore safe from relegation. Midway through the season, the RFU introduced a new competition in the second tier of English rugby named the RFU Championship which is made up of 12 teams. This made National Division 1 the third competition and the bottom five teams were relegated, including Esher.
In 09/10, Esher fought back, winning 29 of their 30 games, scoring 1400 points and conceding only 300. The season with a world record result of 148-0 in Manchester including 22 tries being scored. Esher finished top of the National Division 1, and were therefore promoted to the Championship.
Finishing the 10/11 season in 9th position, Esher found themselves in the bottom four and therefore the relegaton play-offs. After a great performance at Plymouth, the team secured their place in the Championship for the next season, with Birmingham & Solihull relegated.
Unfortunately Esher were relegated from the Championship in the 11/12 season, but finished a respectable 2nd in the 12/13 fixtures in National League One. Having gotten off to a great start in the 13/14 season a tough set of fixtures in earler 2014 saw the team drop from second down to fifth as they lost four consectutive games. Finishing fifth overall. In the 2015/16 season the men in black and amber struggled to find success on the road, eventually dropping to tenth. Looking ahead to the 2015/16 season the 1st XV will aim to return to the top four once again, and get back to more successful winning ways.