Following the backline additions of first Niall Crossley, and then Olly Foxley, Maids have added to their forwards options, by adding Andy Berry to their already impressive armoury. Berry (‘Bez’) joins up with fellow ex Chinnor teammates Andy and Mark Darlington at Braywick, and follows Foxley down the M4 from Reading, joining from National 2 front runners, Redingensians, with whom he spent last season, earning a place in the National 2 Team of the Year, as published in the Rugby Paper.
Sadly, owing to a neck injury, Berry will be moving from his recently familiar position of tighthead prop, to a place in the back 5 of the scrum, covering back row and 2nd row, something not alien to him, as for the majority of his early rugby journey, he appeared in the back row, for both Wasps and Chinnor as a junior. After transitioning to the front row, Berry made England squads at U16 and U18 level, and later went on to represent Old Albanians in National 1, earning a call up to the England Counties squad. Talking about his decision to sign up for Bolton’s Charges, he had this to say:
“I have joined Maids on the basis that it is a real Rugby Club first and foremost. It has a sense of family values and the lads are all a great laugh who look out for one another. It was never an easy decision to leave my previous club, Rams, who I am thankful for a great season last year. They operate a similar sense of values and so this will be an easy transition for me. Having injured my neck and moving out of the front row, I am excited about the prospect of trying to break into the Maids 1XV somewhere else in the pack as we try and mount a promotion from SW Premier”.
Berry in action for Redingensians last season
Player recruitment can often be a complex process, and the number 1 criteria when looking for new additions to the squad, is always a player’s character, and whether they will embrace the culture and values that are held in such high regard at Braywick. Various members of the squad got to know Berry socially over the last couple of seasons, and all gave glowing recommendations to Bolton, and DoR Gareth Andrews-Jones about his suitability. After conducting his research, Bolton made up his mind on Berry, and is convinced that he has the ball-carrying ability and aggression to make an impact in either the back row or 2nd row in magenta. He commented:
“Signing Andy is a real coup for Maidenhead RFC. He has been a really important player for Redingensians and Chinnor in recent seasons and I am delighted that he will be joining what we hope will be the most competitive pack in the league. Due to recent injury problems he is having to make the transition from front row into the back five and I’m pleased that Andy sees us as a club that will support him with that and we certainly see the potential he can offer us in those positions. I watched a number of games of his for Ensians last season and he showed a real determination and skill set to play open attacking rugby and think he will really fit in to the Maidenhead way of playing. Andy has already made a positive contribution in our early training sessions and I’m looking forward to seeing his quality in our South West Premier fixtures.”
The signing of Berry, after the announcement of Zoran Higgins last week almost concludes Bolton’s transfer business this summer, but there will soon be a rundown on some other new players to the squad, who have moved to the area, been promoted from the Academy or have joined from other local clubs. Watch this space!