Here we are again, about to sign off for the summer, after yet another season passes by in the blink of an eye. After winning the league last year, and subsequent promotion to SW Premier, no doubt everyone associated with the club would have taken our current position of 4th, with a game to go, if offered at the start of this campaign. However, the boys can’t help but think that had it not been for some key injuries and unavailabilities, a few poor decisions and the odd bit of bad luck, then we could be finishing as runners up, and heading to the play offs. Everyone at the club is buoyed by results and performances this season, and we’re sure that with a few key additions, a couple of tweaks, and lots of hard work in preseason, then next season we can have a real go at the title.
The season finishes, much how it started, against the ‘Cherry and Whites’, Camborne, from West Cornwall. In the opening fixture of the 17/18 season, Maids made the long journey home with 2 valuable bonus points, narrowly being edged out 30-27, after a Dave Mankee kicking masterclass secured the Camborne win. Despite the loss, Maids came away with confidence in their ability to compete at this level, which the league table no doubt illustrates. There will be no repeat of that performance from Mankee this time round however, as his number 10 shirt is filled by player coach Rhodri McAtee. Another player coach, in the imposing figure of Damien Cook starts in the 2nd row, and they even have DoR, Liam Chapple starting on the wing…maybe Russ Bolton could be tempted into giving forwards coach Mark Bates a place on the bench to continue this theme?
In summary of a wonderful season on the pitch, for the whole club, it would be remiss to omit a mention for the awful tragedy the club has endured off the pitch. Firstly, the club lost Maidenhead stalwart David Perry after he lost his brave battle with cancer, and then more recently, the sudden passing of DoR Tony Brooks. The loss of these two fine men has left a huge hole in our club, which we’re struggling to fill, and come to terms with. One thing is for sure, everyone at the club is determined to honour their memory by sticking together, working hard, and being the best we can be.
There are so many people at the club, who contribute so much to the running of our fabulous establishment, who don’t get the recognition they deserve, but on behalf of all the senior squad players, there are a few people I’d like to mention- Colin the Kitman, and Mick aka Timmy Saville, for sorting all our kit, often at short notice (when Dom doesn’t bother telling them of changes), Jockstrap John, for running the line, and making the rest of us look normal, Lynda in the kitchen- your food is amazing!!!
Our physio team, headed by Sharlene, and ably assisted by Mandingo Ali aka the ‘Black Mamba’, Ellie, Megan and the two Beths have done a fantastic job in keeping our players on the pitch- thank you for all of your hard work. Unsung hero Gareth Andrews-Jones, Meeeeester Gaweth, our Team Manager, Fixture Secretary, Colts Coach and all round legend gives countless hours to ensuring things run smoothly behind the scenes, we very much appreciate all you do for us, along with our other coaches- Russ ‘Chimpy’ Bolton, Mark ‘Badger’ Bates, Greens, Rob, Brad, you have helped create and maintain a fantastic environment for us players, and we are all so fortunate to have you guys onboard. In the upper echelons of the club, our brilliant committee- Geoff, Keith, Mike Andrew, Chairman Boughy, thank you all for your unwavering support, and especially big thanks to Boughy, for making our alcohol level consumptions appear remarkably low, when compared to yours. And finally, our larger than life Commercial Manager, Big Dom Birch, and his team- Wozza, Harvey, Ellie, Georgia et al, thank you for your tolerance, humour, great service and hard work, but thanks mainly for your tolerance…
In an attempt to learn more about the great man himself, Big Dom kindly took half an hour out of his mid-morning nap time, to let us know a little more about him:
*Name/Nicknames? ‘Twinkle Toes’, ‘Mr Happy’, ‘Chuckles’, ‘Big D’, ‘Big Dom’, ‘Don Bircheone’, ‘Goonfather’.
*Position? As Twinkle Toes above, best suited in a fast-paced back line at 12 or 13. At a pinch, flying down the wing skinning one and all.
*Occupation? Boughie’s Boss, Assistant Bar Manager, Chief Thief.
*Which Maids player would you least like to be stuck on a desert island with? Gotta be Chilli; something seriously wrong with him, on all levels – basically there’s no other way to put it but he’s a dirty wrong ‘un. Or Cads as I just don’t know what he’s talking about – it takes me back to caring for my kids when they were first born. Also, neither of my two reprobate children; Ellie and Francis (‘The Two
Rocky’s’) as I’d get my head kicked in or arrested if I spent time with them.
*Which Maids player would you most like to be stuck on a desert island with? 100% Coley; he’s so fat I could beat him over any distance. And Max Roddick – he’s a lovely sweet boy with lovely manners.
Hang on Batesy as well – he’s a cracker. He can fix my plumbing any time……
*Favourite TV Programme? I like to just watch the Maidenhead CCTV on repeat, and conjure up reasons to ban the goons from the clubhouse.
*Hobbies? Usual; flower arranging and keeping fit. Can’t get enough of either. When I get time, I enjoy seal clubbing, burning plastic, dropping litter, and general pollution.
*If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? I’d like to try Rhino or Elephant. All my life have been likened to a Gazelle – wanna look at it from the other side.
*What do you want to achieve this season, both personally and as a team? Personally, thinking of Le Sables ultra-marathon – tired of the standard ones of 26miles – beginning to feel like a jog in the park. And considering taking over management & coaching of team. Sick of Russell; far too much achievement and then what really gets my goat is everyone coming up from training sessions smiling, buying drinks and sometimes staying for more than an hour.
As a team, finish bottom; keeps the punters away and again all that nonsense with goons wandering around just gurning and buying drinks. Pay your entrance fee, buy your drinks without smiling and wishing me a happy day and go home 30 mins after final whistle. Goons.
Back in the Maids lineup this week, is Dave ‘The Flake’ Cole, who has finished his Easter hibernation, successfully living off nothing but Easter Eggs for 30 days straight. Cole is joined in the back row by Will Macaulay, who is fortunate to be included, following the discovery of his sexual abuse and abandonment of the team’s much-loved furry animal ‘Mr Beaver’. In the 2nd XV, CEO of the ‘Sandpit Crew’, Rupert Erskine skippers the side, as reward for lowering his penalty count into single figures for the first time this season versus Newbury a week ago, and Rorie ‘Cow Head’ Hannigan starts at 12, despite grave head injury concerns, after putting his head through 17 pub windows last week.
Off the pitch, Ted Keohane and the Maids Ultras have agreed to fight during both the 1st and 2nd XV games tomorrow, hoping to end the season on a real high, before moving onto cricket violence for the summer, whilst Will Cadden is sure to ignore the boys all afternoon again, in his pursuit of Ellie, only to get drunk later on, and no doubt blow his chances. Again. With the early kick off, Sam Churchyard has anticipated 5pm to be the time he upsets Wozza behind the bar, to be shortly followed by Sam Angell making a swift exit, because he has to attend his Nan’s sister’s, second cousin’s tea party by 3pm on Sunday. For those up late, Sammy Hallett will be on Facebook live giving a tour of his kitchen, starting at 2.30am sharp.
3. Drew (c)
18. AN Other
Maids team (1st XV appearances in brackets)
1. M Parrott (c) (179)
2. R Barber (17)
3. A Darlington (21)
4. S Hallett (24)
5. S Churchyard (74)
6. L Leonard (23)
7. W Macaulay (36)
8. D Cole (18)
9. M Childerhouse (102)
10. A Lubbock (2)
11. M Roddick (11)
12. L Ellis (8)
13. E Keohane (105)
14. G Blewitt (11)
15. S Prince (35)
16. L Jones (79)
17. M Grimshaw (5)
18. A French (18)
Come on you Maids!