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Ollie Mines' Blog

Programme Notes written by Esher 1st Team's resident quiz and fine master.

ROSSLYN PARK 10th March 2017

Clarifications and Corrections

In this column on Saturday 4th February 2017 (vs. Hull), I made the specious claim that “Cam Zeiss’ mother lives in Plymouth”. This claim has absolutely no basis in fact. I’d like to sincerely apologise for the error, and the emotional distress which it will have no-doubt caused Mrs. Zeiss.

Now that’s the embarrassing bit out of the way.

But you know, it does provide me with a useful segue. Because, as I was sat eating my dinner with the players on Tuesday night, I called out to Zeissy and said: “Other than the apology to your mother, is there anything else I should include in the programme this week?”

Zeissy swaggered up to my table and nodded.

“It’s Baggy’s hundredth game” he said.

I love this sentence for several reasons.

Chief amongst them is, Baggy (aka Cameron Zeiss) has referred to himself in the third person there — a recognised sign of megalomania.

I also love how Zeissy has embraced the nickname he received 5 years ago, when former British & Irish Lion, Ollie Smith, accused him of being ‘A bag of shit.’

And finally, I love the fact that it is Baggy’s one-hundredth game for Esher 1st XV, and it’s been a pleasure playing rugby with him.

From personal experience, I can tell you that when you’re scrummaging on one side, it’s always wonderful when the bloke on the other side is not-only a class act, but works his balls off every scrum. And that’s Baggy for you.

In other news, I’d be remiss if I didn’t scribble a few words about Pete Synnott. You’ll have noticed his absence from our recent team sheets. But some of you may be thinking that’s down to a temporarily dodgy knee, or something similar. Well, he does have a very dodgy knee, but it’s certainly not temporary. And that’s part of the reason he’s hung up his boots, alongside his decision to focus on coaching, and move back to Ireland very soon.

We’ll miss Synno dearly. Not only is he an eloquent speaker in the changing room, but he leads by example on the pitch too. Some of you will remember his penalty kicking during the 2011/12 Championship season. Others will recall that he likes to step into tackles like a rhinoceros kicking through a door. Either way, he’s provided us with some wonderfully entertaining rugby.

And even though he grew up far from Limerick [all Ireland’s more or less the same to me] I thought I’d compose a quick limerick in his honour. Here goes:

There is a young flanker named Synnott,

Who’s chosen retirement, last-minute.

Now he’ll step up a gear,

On his coaching career,

And we’ll remember him fondly, innit.            

Now I’d like to end with a rhetorical question.

Last week, a certain player wanted to urge his teammates to ‘pick out the lazy boys’ in the opposition’s defence — presumably to exploit the gaps left by sluggish forwards.

But the player actually said this: ­­

“Look lads we need to pick out the ladyboys in their defence.”

Who do you think that was?

I’ll give you a clue: he’s holding a charity dinner at the club on Friday 24th March.

Yes, of course it was Cheese.

And the dinner is raising money to support a close friend of Cheese’s in her fight against breast cancer. So a great cause.

Should be a good laugh too. Several ex-International speakers will be there, including Matt Perry and Andy Beattie. The common thread running through each speaker is they’ve all played in the same team as Cheese. So expect some dirt to be dished — a great way to spend a Friday night.

It’s just forty quid a head, or 350 quid for a table of ten. You can book through the club office. And there’s still a couple of tables left.



AMPTHILL  18th February 2017

Hello. Good afternoon. And welcome.

So much to write about this week. Not like last time, when I desperately tried to reach my minimum word count just by taking the piss out of the name ‘Devlin’ and plonking a massive picture on the page.

(By the way, ‘Dev’ and I have now met, and everything’s cool)

Anyway, before I get on to anything else, I wanted to talk about the state of the league — the bottom rung of it to be precise.  

I had no idea Macclesfield were doing so badly. Admittedly I only skim-read the other results once I’ve learned how the mighty EEEs have got on, but bloody hell!

Until last week, I had no idea of this once-proud club’s points differential. Did you know that they’ve let in a whopping 6664 points so far this season?

Did you know that across 19 games they’ve scored an average of just 18 points, while conceding and average of 351?

And yet those averages don’t tell the whole story. They haven’t lost all of those 19 games, you see. They’ve had two wins and a draw, which means they must have lost several games by over 600 points!

Now that takes some doing.

In fact, it almost sounds farcical, doesn’t it? But if you don’t believe me, check the table from page 22 of last week’s programme…

So, what else?

Well to be honest, it ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous.

In the former category, it’s Spencer Sutherland’s 100th game for the 1st XV today. And may I say how chuffed I am for him.

Spenny arrived at the club in the 2012-13 season. And from then onwards it’s been nothing but tries, titwanks and tackles for him— a proper Hersham fairytale. Congratulations Spenny.

In the ridiculous category, we’ve got Cameron Gentles blowing a gasket after Giuseppe grabbed his testicles during training.

Giuseppe claims it was accidental, and I for one, believe him. However, Cam G’s (already limited) sense of humour completely failed him, and apparently he had to apologise later in the week. 

I suppose I should also do a little summation of last week’s game against Blaydon too. By all accounts, it was one of those games that makes you thankful for having a long-term injury.

Blaydon’s ground isn’t the most salubrious place at the best of times. With the addition of arctic winds and an almost-unplayable stretch of mud for a pitch, the match was certainly deserving of Tom Yellowlees’ one-word description on Whatsapp afterwards: “Gnarly”.

Apparently the referee raised a genuine concern that Spenny might be slipping into hypothermia out on the wing. He even asked our physio to check on him.

It was also brought to my attention that there were some inaugurations on the journey home from Blaydon. Inaugurations at Esher are a simple business: on a new player’s first away game, they get up, answer a few questions, tell a joke, sing a song, then sit down again. No ‘initiation’ rubbish. No forced drinking. Just a chance for the rest of the team to learn a little more about their new teammate.

But apparently Dev and Giuseppe’s were worse than Cameron Leigh’s (who royally ballsed-up his inauguration a couple of years ago).

I wasn’t there last week, but I was present for Cam Leigh’s Shuttle crash, and I can attest that it’s a low bar to squeeze under.

If reports are to be believed, both Dev and Giuseppe failed to deliver a joke and weren’t even able to sing a song!

It was enough to make Welshmen Tom Cheeseman & Tom James wish they’d bought real wine for the journey instead of the non-alcoholic variety. (Though in their defence, they had thought it was real wine. Feckwits.)

Anyway, no big deal. Dev and Giuseppe are both talented rugby players, and that’s what really matters…I suppose.

Well that’s that. Until next time.

Though I forgot to mention Valentines Day. Oh wait…no I didn’t, because it’s a load of old toss, dreamed up by a card manufacturer. And any of you that ‘did something special’ for it should be ashamed of your conformism and lack of imagination.

Enjoy the game.






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