After comfortably dispatching Oxford Harlequins at the Braywick Bowl last week, Maids have the tricky prospect of facing Berkshire rivals, Reading at Holme Park this week. Despite the poor form of ‘the Green Machine’ so far this season, this is a big derby match, which previous experience tells us, is irrelevant in these games. Coached by Paul Gaster, and led by number 8, Jon Cranton, Reading will be abrasive and aggressive, and look to shut down the free-flowing style, that has typified Maids’ good start to the campaign. In the pack, they feature veteran tighthead Andrew ‘Grizz’ Grierson, with Sean Kenneally packing down behind him in the second row, also a familiar name in this fixture. Out wide, Reading will look to young fly half, Sam Bowers to pull the strings, while Chris Greig on the wing is always a threat.
In the Maids’ side, there are further changes, after the long injury list was extended last week, to incorporate Jack ‘Jelly-Bean’ Hill, the scrum half suffering a concussion, which rules him out for at least 3 weeks, joining Mike Burnett, Jaryd Robinson, Frankie O’Keeffe, Jon Heron, Umar Marriott, Alex Cannon, Mark Childerhouse and Matt Bill, to name a few, on the long injury list at Braywick.
This week, we spoke with back row forward-turned centre, Ryan Long:
*Nickname(s)? Longy, Schlongy, Pippy-Schlong-Stockings, Ray, Golden Balls, Mr Incredible.
*Position? Back row
*Former clubs? Wasps, Maidenhead, North Otago, Maidenhead, Henley, Maidenhead, Chinnor, Maidenhead, Drifters.
*Biggest rugby achievement to date? Winning the Heartland Championship with North Otago.
*Favourite food? Chicken.
*Dream woman/man? Ed Keohane’s sister.
*Which Maids teammate would you least like to be stuck in a lift with, and why? Perry Jansen, he likes me too much, and it’s starting to become uncomfortable.
*What do you want to achieve this season? I want to ensure James Emmanuel does a birdbath on the day we get promoted.
It’s a big welcome back to Ross Muil, who makes his return to the 1s after injury this week, whilst Ross Lewis, newly-signed from Henley Hawks, joins him as a substitute for his debut. Perry Jansen switches to 9, so he can moan at the pack from closer range, and Will Thompson starts at 10. Tom Finnie is hoping his sugar levels recover, after he had a big Thursday night on the Coca Cola, whilst player of the month for November, Lunch-Money Lewis Jones, is refusing to commit, until viewing the menu choices on offer at RRFC.
We must also take the opportunity to congratulate James Emmanuel, on his 150th 1st XV cap versus Oxford Quins last week, a fine achievement for a young man with social and learning difficulties.
- Parrott (c)
- R Jones
- L Jones
Come on you Maids!