Smith plays down Esher ref row

Suspended: Esher lock Kris Chesney

Walking on broken glass: Esher head coach Ollie Smith could find himself in hot water

First published in Sport This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by

Esher head coach Ollie Smith has moved to play down his verbal clash with match officials at the weekend.
 

The 30-year-old former Harlequins centre Smith and assistant coach Ricky Nebbett were both reported to the Rugby Football Union this week, following an altercation wih referee Terry Hall in the wake of Saturday’s 21-20 defeat at Old Albanians.
 

The pair argued with Hall after the final whistle, following an earler decision not to award their side a kickable penalty in the closing stages that might have sealed a valuable win.
 

The defeat all but ended Esher hopes of chasing down league leaders Ealing Trailfinders, visitors to Molesey Road tomorrow, in the National Division One title race.
 

If charged with and found guilty of verbally abusing a match official, Smith could face a ban of between six and 52 weeks.
 

“I do not want to talk about the incident. In all honesty, it has been blown out of all proportion,” said Smith, who expects to attend a disciplinary hearing  next week.
 

“There is protocol and due process to follow with this sort of thing. Suffice to say I was disappointed with how the game turned out.”
 

Steve Hill, director of rugby at Esher’s National Division One rivals Richmond, felt some sympathy towards both Hall and Smith in the circumstances.
 

“It is always difficult to be a referee as you will not always get decisions right. But emotions can run high at the end of a game when you’re not happy with a referee,” he said.
 

“Esher are pushing for promotion and the defeat would really have dented their hopes so I guess emotions were indeed running high.”
 

The club  also confirmed its veteran former Saracens second row Kris Chesney, pictured left, has been suspended pending an internal investigation into an incident that occured in the first half of the feisty encounter.
 

The 38-year-old – along with team-mate Joe Brown  – was also handed a yellow -card by Hall in the second half.
 

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