It’s Derby Day! Old adversaries Reading, make the short trip across Berkshire to the Braywick Bowl this week, to play in front of potentially, the largest crowd of the season. Kids go free this Saturday, and there will be a curtain-raiser, followed by a guard of honour, from the U9s.

Although beaten by league leaders Towcestrians last time out, Reading put up a brave fight, and will no doubt put up tough resistance for Maids, as they look to fight off relegation. Maidenhead come off the back of a lethargic 23-8 defeat at Witney, but will be hoping their recent excellent home form continues. However, as the cliché goes; form goes out of the window on derby days…

The ‘Green Machine’ as they are known, will be steered by 17 year old Matt Smart at 10, whose impressive kicking display versus Tows, nearly got them the points. Chris Greig on the wing has scored plenty of tries this term, despite Reading’s lowly league position, whilst evergreen Sean Kenneally lines up in the second row, in what is likely to be his last match against Maids.

Maids feature Jon Heron at 12, who will be celebrating his 50th cap this week, and we caught up with the hard-hitting centre, to gather his thoughts-

Congratulations on your 50th cap! What’s been your favourite moment in a Maids shirt so far?

“Cheers, means a lot! There have been a lot of great moments with Maids, but the first game I played at a senior level after returning from university was fantastic. That sense of pride putting on the shirt at the club where rugby started for me will always stick with me.”

What do you expect from Reading tomorrow?

“It’s a big derby for us and the same stands for Reading. Reading will be hungry to try and turn around there away form too so I expect them to come firing out of the blocks. What’s important for me though is that whatever Reading team turns up is that we play our game, at our tempo and dictate play.”

What are you expecting from us?

We should definitely be coming into this game with confidence with our performances at home, but I’d like to see us re-establish our dominant defence from early in the season that led to a lot of success. It’s important we look to build off that. If we can do that and keep cool heads in this Derby we should be putting a marker on ourselves to shut Reading out.

We wish Jon all the best in his 50th outing, and look forward to watching him go on to get a century.

Maidenhead welcome back Matt Burke to the back row today, who is back playing after the recent arrival of his second child, whilst Alex Gaylina returns on the bench. It is thought this may be Alex’s last appearance before December, as he doesn’t want a black eye for the Xmas photos. Sadly Ross Muil broke his arm in the defeat at Witney, and Phil White is absent, making his debut in an amateur cage fight. We extend a big welcome to Henry Day, who makes his debut on the bench, after joining from Henley Hawks.

Maids team:

1/ Parrott (c), 2/ N.Jones, 3/ Britton, 4/ Churchyard, 5/ Emmanuel, 6/ Burke, 7/ Cadden, 8/ Long, 9/ Childerhouse, 10/ Jansen, 11/ Skelton, 12/ Heron, 13/ Bart, 14/ Abiven, 15/ Robinson, 16/ L.Jones, 17/ Gaylina, 18/ Day

Reading team:

1/ Roberts, 2/ Lynch, 3/ Smith, 4/ Kenneally, 5/ Davies, 6/ Baker, 7/ Macnaughton, 8/ Cranton, 9/ Dorliac, 10/ Smart, 11/ Greig, 12/ Czernauszka, 13/ Gilmour, 14/ Williamson, 15/ Murray-Smith, 16/ Nicol, 17/ Witko, 18/ Cunningham.

Come on you Maids!

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