Maids v Barnstaple (home)

Maids v Barnstaple (home)

Despite a week off for the players last weekend, it’s been busy behind the scenes, as the club have worked hard to secure the signing of our new Head Coach for next season, Dave Mobbs-Smith. ‘Mobbs’, currently at Rosslyn Park in National 1 has previously worked with current forwards coach, Zoran Higgins, and came through the process as the club’s number 1 choice, despite stiff competition from several other very high-calibre candidates.

Huge credit and thanks must go to Steve Bough, Gareth Andrews-Jones, David Pepper and Russell Bolton for all their hard work with this thorough and professional proceeding, which has seen us acquire a first-class professional coach, who will have the hard task of following in the footsteps of outgoing incumbent, Russ Bolton. More details on the appointment of Mobbs, can be found here-

Looking ahead to this week, it’s no exaggeration to say this one of the biggest games in Maids’ recent history, as they welcome 2nd placed Barnstaple to Braywick, hoping to leapfrog them in the table, and nick the play off spot, which will see a contest for promotion to level 4 rugby.

Barum comfortably won the reverse fixture 39-7 back in October, against a heavily-depleted travelling Maids side, but you can guarantee they will face a far stiffer test this time round. As well as the long journey East to Berkshire, Barum may well also be hampered by the fast, artificial pitch at Maids, their bludgeoning (but extremely effective) style of forward-orientated style of rugby, possibly not being overly suited to the track. However, Barnstaple offer far more than just a well-executed catch and drive, marshalled by the imposing figure of Ben Hilton in the second row, both centres, Ryan Carter and Jake Murphy are tough, experienced competitors with higher level experience, and they will have to be kept quiet, if the home side are to prevail.

Since winning 27-15 at Old Pats two weeks ago, the physio room has been busy, and we’re delighted to be able to welcome back several players who have been missing for the previous weeks. However, perhaps our most exciting returnee, is centre and talisman, Ed Keohane, who has been out since the stunning 26-14 win over Bournemouth in December, after a shoulder operation. We’re delighted that he chose to write down his answers to this week’s questionnaire, as opposed to his normal mumbling, part pikey, part tinker-talk, that only his Dad and Laurence Leonard understand…


Name- Ed Keohane

Nickname(s)- ‘Dreamboat’, ‘Ellie’s number 1’, ‘Matt Holland’, ‘Plastic Paddy’, ‘Eddie the Beagle’

Position(s)- centre/fly half/back of the bus/front of the doghouse.

Strengths- karaoke, mumbling, weddings, huge womb ferret.

Weaknesses- my ASBO Dad, getting home on time, general communication, listening to coaches.

Occupation- Amazingly, I’m in charge of delivering an education to the young people of this country.

If you could be any of your teammates, who would you be and why? Perry or Longy, don’t have to worry about training, play when they want, living the dream.

Which teammate would you least like to have over for dinner? Definitely Rod Muil- he’d show up without a bottle, eat all the food, not say thanks, and then go out to see his other mates.

What hobbies do you have outside of rugby? Bailing my Dad out of custody and making IEDs with Laurence Leonard.

Tell us something we don’t know about you- I used to be a jockey as a teenager and trained with Frankie Dettori.

What are your aspirations for this season? Try and get Parrott back on the beer, help my Dad with his Anger Management and get us playing one extra game.


Niall Crosley has completed his full transition to Southern posh boy as he contemplates the best venues in South West London to dine for brunch whilst sipping prosecco and moaning about Brexit, so misses out this week, for being too stuck up. Charlie Broughton partners Ed Keohane in midfield, after finally thrashing out the terms and conditions of his private photographer for his Instagram, Boughy reluctantly agreeing to pick up the bill with the money he made by selling all the squad’s match balls this week.

Dave Cole narrowly passes his HIA after being beaten up by Jon Cranton in training on Thursday, and he’ll line up alongside Will Macaulay, who received 7 stitches, after being shanked with a sharpened toothbrush by Mark Darlington in the shower, after he said horrible things about his brother Andrew. #snitchesgetstitches

Sam Churchyard is away this Saturday, he now must work every weekend for the next 30 months, after his wife finally got to the bottom of his financial irregularities, but he’ll be replaced by Laurence Leonard, who has still managed to prevent his make-believe girlfriend from reading previous match previews which definitively out him as a total and utter Honeypot fiend. If anyone knows her, please pass on this vital information.


Maids team:


1.       S Rawsthorne (13)

2.       M Darlington (36) (c)

3.       A Darlington (37)

4.       L Leonard (43)

5.       A Berry (19)

6.       R Muil (19)

7.       W Macaulay (51)

8.       D Cole (38)

9.       P Jansen (92)

10.   W Runciman (36)

11.   S Prince (48)

12.   C Broughton (9)

13.   E Keohane (113)

14.   M Roddick (25)

15.   M Davies (32)

16.   E Mandozzi (9)

17.   R Long (133)

18.   C Morgan (14)


Barnstaple team:

1.       Snell

2.       Starkey

3.       Angell

4.       Lloyd

5.       Hilton

6.       Gohl

7.       James

8.       Bayet

9.       Bath

10.   McManus

11.   Lee

12.   Carter

13.   Murphy

14.   Topps

15.   Berry

16.   Dromantas

17.   Hague

18.   Nash

Come on you Maids!

Maids v Old Pats (away)

Maids v Old Pats (away)

Things couldn’t have gone much better for Maids last weekend, when in the process of securing a full 5 points, thanks to a 66-0 home win over Newton Abbott, the gap to 2nd placed Barnstaple, closed to a mere 4 points, following their away loss at Exmouth, 25-12, which saw them come away with nothing. Barnstaple have another tough Devon derby this week, as they welcome 3rd placed Ivybridge to Pottington Road, which will either see the gap between the sides increase to at least 6 points, or, if the result goes the way of Ivy, then a swap in league positions, with just another 4 matches to go afterwards.

It would be easy for Maids to start looking ahead to that crunch clash at Braywick against Barum in 2 weeks, but they must first fully focus on a tough trip to Everest Road, the home of Old Patesians, in Cheltenham. It’s been a really tough season for Old Pats, who have had to play a significant proportion of their games away from their formidable home ground Everest Road, due to pitch conditions, and have had the Prince of Wales as the venue for many of their fixtures this season. This Saturday however, in the forecasted heavy rain and wind, Maids will have to do it the hard way, and overcome the fearsome slope that so many fail to conquer…

The Pats pack will likely be led by big ball carriers George Angell and Rich Hance at 6 and 8 respectively, while the responsibility of a strong scrum will fall to props Jasper Frost and Teddy Saunders. In the backline, Tom Knight at 9 was one of the standout players in the reverse fixture at Braywick, he will likely be partnered at half back by Oliver Aherne.

In one of his final games at the club until the Honourable Mrs May finally introduces Brexit and boots the little Tinker out of the country, Laurence Leonard had a quick break from leering over hagged old women in the Honeypot, while his imaginary girlfriend is ‘away’, and answered some questions for this week’s match preview;


Name- Laurence Leonard

Nickname(s)- ‘Lar’, ‘Lozza’, ‘Loz’, ‘Larry’, ‘Bruno’, ‘Dennis Irwin’, ‘Leering Larry’, ‘Pervert Pete’.

Position(s)- Back row, second row, firmly behind the curtain.

Strengths- Reigniting British/Irish tensions with a few aptly placed IEDs this week, grooming (not kids, just young males), birdbaths, stealing radiators, scrap metal, evading tax, bills and rent.

Weaknesses- Brexit, singing crap Irish songs, looks, Rod Muil,

Occupation- thieving copper.

If you could be any of your teammates, who would you be and why? Rod Muil, because I know for a fact he’s paying £9.99 a month for pictures of Andy Darlo’s Mrs.

Which teammate would you least like to have over for dinner? Perry Jansen, with him only eating halal meat, and Ramadan coming up, it will be a nightmare to find something suitable for him.

What hobbies do you have outside of rugby? Gay-lick football, searching for 4 leaf clovers and intense lap dances at the Honeypot.

Tell us something we don’t know about you- I spent 3 years at Neverland with Michael Jackson as a kid and I loved it.

What are your aspirations for this season? Beat Bournemouth at their place, get promoted, find my girlfriend and stay in the country.


Ryan Long returned to training this week, re-invigorated upon finishing Perry Jansen’s best-selling book ‘A guide to getting away with a mid-season rugby sabbatical’, with players breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing their WAGs wouldn’t be receiving a visit whilst training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lewis Jones, absent on Tuesday training due to Pancake Day, will be starting at Tighthead Prop, the highly-sensitive naughty little warthog only agreeing to play because Batesy promised him a sausage roll on the way home, whilst James Johnstone, skipper of our victorious Colts side last season makes his debut off the bench, and he’ll be looking forward to getting touched up on a bus again, something he’s not experienced since those long away trips with Meester Gaweth in the previous 2 seasons in the Colts.

Olly Foxley thoroughly enjoyed World Book Day at school this week

Will Runciman returns from his poaching holiday in South Africa after successfully aiding the extinction of the White Rhino in the previous 2 weeks, and he comes back into the side to replace Ceri Morgan, who has been omitted from the squad, as Russ Bolton felt his little legs would struggle to get up the hill at Old Pats, whilst Rod Muil will be going directly to the ground, to get a good hour of pre-match Tinder in, to see what the Cheltenham community might be able to offer him.


All at Maids RFC were devastated this week, to learn of the death of our much-loved chef, Linda. In the past 2 seasons, Linda was responsible for producing some unbelievably high-quality food for the boys, which has regularly been heralded as ‘the best at any rugby club in the land’, and her excellent produce has no doubt resulted in such a high number of players sticking around after training and games for her meals. Linda was a shy, quiet lady, but the boys all loved her, and will miss her greatly.

Linda leaves behind 3 children; David, Anna and Emma, and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time, as well as Dom, Catherine, and the rest of the Birch household. Sleep tight Linda X


Maids team (caps in brackets)

1.       E Mandozzi (8)

2.       S Rawsthorne (12)

3.       L Jones (91)

4.       S Churchyard (94)

5.       A Berry (18)

6.       R Muil (18)

7.       L Leonard (42)

8.       D Cole (37)

9.       P Jansen (91)

10.   W Runciman (35)

11.   S Prince (47)

12.   C Broughton (9)

13.   N Crossley (20)

14.   M Roddick (24)

15.   M Davies (31)

16.   J Johnstone (1)

17.   E Atkins (4)

18.   D Baptista (10)

Come on you Maids!