Match Preview – Maidenhead v Wycombe (Home)

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So, in the blink of an eye, we arrive at our final league game of the 2015/2016 season, and welcome our old Buckinghamshire friends, High Wycombe, to the Braywick Bowl. After coming into the league as champions of the division below, it is testament to the team, that survival is virtually guaranteed, and will be sealed, if they can secure just 1 point tomorrow. If they don’t, then Reading still need to beat Salisbury, and score 4 tries, which the form book suggests is unlikely.

It was the opening day of the season since these 2 sides last met, when Maids ground out a tough 22-17 victory, after going 17-0 down, in the first half. The two teams look much changed since that fixture, and the inclusion of Craig Murray (number 8) and James Mawby (tighthead) in the Wycs side, pose a real threat to the home team’s usual Braywick dominance. They do, however, come into the game, off the back of a humbling 71-0 thrashing to Towcestrians, whilst Maids will be buoyed by their 30-0 shut-out of Trowbridge a week ago. Continue reading “Match Preview – Maidenhead v Wycombe (Home)”

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Match Preview – Maidenhead v Trowbridge (Away)

Match Preview – Maidenhead v Trowbridge (Away)

Following last week’s lacklustre display, which saw Maidenhead eventually limp over the line, and beat Swindon 34-31, the boys have trained well, and look forward to visiting Trowbridge, for their final away fixture of 2015/2016.

Earlier in the season, Maidenhead produced a fluid display, to dispatch the Wiltshire side, 42-7. Much has changed since that day, and Bolton’s men know that they will need to dig deep, to prevail against a home team fighting for their lives, to stay in the division. Number 10, Lloyd Davis will be key to their survival hopes, and Trowbridge will be hoping his kicking game is on form, in order to keep Maids pinned back.

We asked some questions to Frenchman Matthieu Abiven, who didn’t understand the concept of a ‘quick chat’, and has instead penned an essay in his replies. Sadly he will be departing England soon, to return to France, owing to work commitments. Here are his thoughts for the game:

Have you enjoyed your season with Maidenhead?

“So far it was a great season for me. It was my first rugby senior year and didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. Eventually I enjoyed very much this year, especially the pre-season/beginning of the season with a fantastic dynamic. But also the second part of the season with really good performances at home such as Towcestrians or Reading and some frustrating performances away which made us go back to the training, try to figure out what went wrong and make it up at home then.

I must say that the energy and the motivation went a bit down around November/December when we ended our amazing series of wins, I guess I didn’t get use to the British weather and mud. After that, “new” comers like Longy, Jaryd or Will Greenwood brought this challenge and competition during training by their experience, quality and commitment and levelled up our performances on the Saturdays which is always enjoyable.

I’ve also discovered a superb club at Maids with really good players from each senior team, younger teams, and a big family of fans, sometimes demanding and always here to support us during and after the match.

The bus journeys have also been fantastic, and when I return to Toulouse, I will surely show them all the birdbath, and hope it catches on.

So yes it was a great season and I am sure next year you will have the results you deserve and get promoted.

What do we need to do better to secure promotion?

“First of all, I think you have the players and the talent you need to get promoted. You found a really strong backbone this season and this has to carry on next year. You will not lose many players next season and you will be able to build from there and do a strong pre-season.

This pre-season was key this year and if everyone of this team gets committed early you will have an even better start than this season. Plus, you will need everyone fully committed along the season, and I think the backline was a bit lazy sometimes, sure you have to deal with injuries but you don’t want to rework or change players every week.

Finally, I think we found a good stability in the team and in the playing patterns that you have to keep up. You might need to improve them a bit, especially for the away games, because you will not be able to afford losing like we did away.”

Will you return to Maids in the future?

“I will first enjoy the end of the season playing touch and 7 at Maids. Then I will go back to France for professional reasons and bring to the French rugby all I learned here. So far my job will not bring me back to Maidenhead in a near future but who knows. I will for sure come back here to see the big family I leave behind me and why not organise a friendly with my future team to kick your English arses.

There is but one thing I am sure about; I will never forget the season I lived here, especially when I was dressed as Luigi in Winkers, got thrown out after 10 minutes, was sick on myself, slept in the snow at the rugby club, and then wet myself. Thank you all!!”

We wish Matthieu all the best in his future endeavours, and thank him for his efforts this season- he is truly one of the Maids family, and will be sorely missed.

This week, Maids welcome back prop Ben Willetts, who didn’t understand Andy Goode’s retirement strategy- instead choosing to fully complete pre-season, then retiring, and not playing at all. We look forward to having some glamour back in the front row. He replaces the promiscuous Paul Britton, who has been named in Scotland, as part of the ‘Celebrity 3 Way’, and is now hiding from the press.

Maids team:

1/ Parrott (c)(HOA), 2/ Jones, 3/ Willetts, 4/ Churchyard, 5/ Emmanuel, 6/ White, 7/ Cadden, 8/ Long, 9/ Childerhouse, 10/ Jansen, 11/ Day, 12/ Heron, 13/ Bart, 14/ Abiven, 15/ Finnie, 16/ Rawlings, 17/ Gill, 18/ O’Keeffe

On behalf of everyone at Maidenhead RFC, may we wish all the best to young Trowbridge 2nd row Gareth Davis, who suffered a horrific leg injury v Towcestrians last week, and had to have an Air Ambulance. We wish you all the best in your recovery.

Match Preview – Maidenhead v Swindon (Home)

Match Preview – Maidenhead v Swindon (Home)

Following last week’s gut-wrenching late loss to Newbury, after leading 17-3 at the break, Maids will be desperate to impress against Swindon, who did the double over them last season, as well as winning 52-23 earlier in this league campaign.

Swindon themselves will be keen to bounce back, following a 72-19 home drubbing at the hands of champions-elect, Towcestrians. They will be led by fly-half, Adam Westall, who is pivotal to the dangerous Swindon back line, and also Ben Saville at hooker, who was absent from the Swindon team that beat Maids in October. Continue reading “Match Preview – Maidenhead v Swindon (Home)”

Match Preview – Maidenhead v Newbury (Away)

Match Preview – Maidenhead v Newbury (Away)

After having last Saturday off for Easter, Maids return to league action this week, travelling to Monks Lane, to face an in-form Newbury Blues side, looking to win their 10th game on the bounce. Newbury will be confident of stretching their impressive unbeaten run, which dates back to December 5th, when they lost 26-14 to… Maidenhead.

Since that day, Newbury have recorded victories against 2nd place Salisbury, Witney, and a 12-10 away win at Towcestrians. Led by skipper Dan Thorne, Newbury boast a mean defence, with a quick backline. Maids will have to be particularly wary of full back Josh Bartlett, who has pace to burn, and is a dangerous counter-attacking player.

Despite the daunting task ahead, Maidenhead go to the Blues full of confidence themselves after back-to-back wins against Towcester (33-19) and Windsor (38-14). This week, we speak to hooker Nic Jones, who has impressed all, in his debut season at first team level:

It’s your first season in the first team, are you enjoying yourself?

“I love being back at Maidenhead RFC, and to be in the first team is great. It’s got a great mix of characters with some brilliant rugby ability which pushes me to be my best each week.  I particularly enjoy showering with Churchy after games”.

What’s gone well for us this season?

“Our set pieces have been quite the force this season whether that be lineouts, scrums or even a quick tap and go. With great talent in the team from 1-18 we have the ability to do well all over the park. The driving maul is especially strong for us and has been effective against all teams this season. We will look to continue this on Saturday.”

What do we need to do, to beat Newbury?

“We need to go into it in a similar way as we did to Towcestrians. In a relaxed but focused manner. Newbury have had an impressive run of wins and to beat them on their turf we will need to bring everything to the game on Saturday. All the Maidenhead players 1-18 need to be ready to put it all on the line for 80 minutes if we want that W this Saturday.”

 

Maids welcome back Perry Jansen to the team this week, who has been on a romantic getaway with new girlfriend Ellie Birch, while Jaryd Robinson replaces Frankie O’Keeffe, who has returned to Thailand, to complete ‘his treatment’.

Maidenhead team:

1/ Parrott (c), 2/ N. Jones, 3/ Britton, 4/ Emmanuel, 5/ Churchyard, 6/ White, 7/ Cadden, 8/ Long, 9/ Childerhouse, 10/ Jansen, 11/ Robinson, 12/ Heron, 13/ Bart, 14/ Abiven, 15/ Finnie, 16/ Rawlings, 17/ Gallina, 18/ Simpson

Come on you Maids!