After a disappointing 39-7 loss away to Barnstaple last weekend, Maids face their sternest test yet this season, welcoming unbeaten Bournemouth to Braywick. Barnstaple must be congratulated for their convincing win a week ago, against a side decimated with unavailability and injury, but with no lack of effort, especially with exciting youngsters such as Owen Langstone, Elio Mandozzi and Myles Williamson, who all put their hands up in tricky circumstances.
Maids are boosted this week, with the returns of Andrew and Mark Darlington, Will Macaulay, Ed Keohane, Olly Foxley, Dylan Baptista and Adam Lubbock, all of whom missed the trip to Barnstaple last Saturday, and they’ll be hoping to emulate their recent success against Ivybridge, and inflict a first defeat of the season on their visitors. Coached by Will Croker, the Men from the South Coast lead the division by 11 points, winning all 11 games so far which makes them clear favourites for the title, and a return to National 2 South.
Whoever is in charge of recruitment down at Chapel Gate, needs a serious pay rise, after they managed to secure the services of Mike Pope (scrum half) from Cornish Pirates, Karim Lynch (full back) from Ampthill and also Joe Tarrant (front row) from Richmond in the summer, adding to their already impressive squad, which so nearly achieved promotion last season, just losing out to Guernsey Raiders in the play off.
This week, they arrive at Braywick missing skipper and number 8, Joe Rees, loosehead prop, Michael Davies, and also Karim Lynch, but no doubt there will be little drop in quality, such is the depth of their squad. The half-back pairing of Pope, and fly-half Adam Davies will be crucial to the high tempo rugby they play, and it will be no surprise to see the dangerous Sam Hardcastle come off the bench early, with Pope switching to 10. Upfront, flanker Ali Bennett replaces Rees at 8, whilst Hennings moves from second row to blindside flanker, with Manning taking over the hooking duties.
For Maids, there are multiple changes, as mentioned above, but one of the ‘constants’ over the last couple of months, is new scrum half Ceri Morgan, who joined the club over the summer. We took a few minutes to peer inside the warped world of the depraved chavvy Welshman…
Name: Ceri Morgan
Nickname(s) – “Ron Weasley”, “Harry Potter’s best friend”, “Hobbit”, “Siri”, “Ed Sheeran”, “Goblin”, “Cez”, “Chavvy Chase”.
Position(s) – Marching back 10 yards/opposition scrum half’s pocket.
Strengths – Confusing team mates, giving away penalties, being ginger, calling Levi “Leroy”, getting children’s train tickets, burglary.
Weaknesses – Speaking English, keeping my hair, passing, looks, accent, my ASBO.
Occupation – Educating England’s future generation- I tutor spliff-rolling, car theft and arson.
If you could be any of your teammates, who would you be and why? Denzel Baptista- he’s a unit, with a gorgeous complexion.
Which teammate would you least like to have over for dinner? Andy Berry, he once shouted at me for giving him a bad pass, I think he has ADHD/generic anger issues. He is no longer a fellow ginger.
What hobbies do you have outside of rugby? Counting sheep, mountain walking, cutting off my tag, joy riding.
Tell us something we don’t know about you – I once won an Ed Sheeran look alike competition which Ed Sheeran competed in.
What aspirations do you have for this season? – give less than 10 penalties away per game, keeping my hair, promotion.
Adam Lubbock has fully recovered from his bout of ‘Carbonara-colon’, which kept him out of last week’s game at Barnstaple, while new signing Dylan ‘Denzel’ Baptista returns to the squad after a 12-hour chest session last Saturday rendered him unavailable. Ed Keohane plays his last game in a Maids shirt this season, before his 6 month stay at HMP Walton for beating up Big Ron’s best mate outside a taxi earlier in the year, but unfortunately his Dad, Ted can only watch the first half- his bail conditions meaning he must return home before dark.
It’s a warm welcome back to ‘The Toe’, Andy Darlington, who makes his first Maids appearance since Exmouth, after he cut the nail too short on his left big toe, he will thankfully be joined in the front row by brother Mark, who can carry him through the game, and then help him get changed out of his rugby kit, and assist him with eating his dinner. Perry Jansen plays 3 consecutive games for the first time since under 9s, and Dave Cole will aim to avoid his 6th straight ‘Puss of the Week’ award, and last longer than 6 minutes…
Maids team (caps in brackets)
1. M Parrott (c) (191)
2. M Darlington (29)
3. A Darlington (28)
4. S Churchyard (84)
5. A Berry (10)
6. L Leonard (32)
7. W Macaulay (43)
8. D Cole (28)
9. C Morgan (7)
10. P Jansen (84)
11. S Prince (41)
12. E Keohane (112)
13. N Crosley (10)
14. D Baptista (2)
15. O Foxley (7)
16. L Jones (88)
17. R Long (126)
18. A Lubbock (11)
Come on you Maids!