Esher back row Mike Macfarlane turned down the advances of Championship new boys Jersey to commit to the club next term, writes Muhammed Sher.

Macfarlane, a former Loughborough Students star who made 24 appearances last term, was one of six players to sign one-year deals with the club last week – following Arran Cruickshanks and Tom Cheeseman’s lead.

Full back Luke Daniels, prop David Millard, James Campbell, winger Andy Wright and scrum half Patrick O’Grady, added to Macfarlane’s signature last week as they returned to pre-season training at Molesey Road.

Head coach Ollie Smith brought in his first new face of the summer – in the form of Gareth Morgan – this week, and was confident he would have the ingredients for success coming the opening clash of the campaign on September 1.

“We’ve always said that if we kept together the nucleus of the playing group from last season then we would be very competitive,” said Smith.

“That is beginning to happen and the players have bought into our vision.

“Credit to them as a number could have moved on, but they haven’t. They believe in the club and their team-mates and I think a special group is beginning to form.

“We’ve lost one or two, as we always knew would be the case, but things are beginning to move in the right direction in terms of numbers.”