Hello all, and welcome to the first edition of ‘Mobbsy’s Musings’, my blog on all things Maidenhead RFC.
Firstly, I must start by saying how lucky I feel to be working at this tremendous club. When I first interviewed for the role earlier this year, the words ‘environment’ and ‘culture’ were consistently talked about, as the vital foundations underpinning all that happens at Braywick, and the experiences I have had so far, in such a short space of time, certainly echo those sentiments. A big thank you to all of my fellow coaches, the players and all the support staff at the club who have made me feel so welcome!
As we near the end of the preseason schedule, I was hoping to reflect on our first competitive performance, following a fixture with Beaconsfield, scheduled for last night. Sadly, due to injury and unavailability, they were unable to fulfil the fixture, so we now look ahead to Barnes away, next Friday night. Playing away from home at a side that finished in the top half of National 2 last year will be a great test for the players, and a good barometer moving forward. We conclude our preseason schedule with a home game against CS Rugby from London Premier, on August 31st at Braywick- I hope to see you all there.
I have been thoroughly impressed with the attitude and aptitude of the players so far this preseason- starting in the first week of June was a somewhat daunting prospect for many, but they’ve worked really hard, and I’m confident we will reap the benefits, when we kick off at Drybrook on September 7th. Our new additions to the playing squad have been well documented, but one new addition not mentioned so far, who has made a huge contribution, is new Strength and Conditioning Coach, Murray Barratt. Stepping up from player to coach, can sometimes be a tricky dynamic to overcome, but such is the quality of content that Murray is delivering, I know the lads are delighted to have him in place, and I know they are chuffed with looking that little bit trimmer in their holiday pictures!
Alongside the focus of fitness in preseason, we have spent much of our time looking at how we attack with more structure, and I’m delighted with how our shape is coming along. We’ve got some great playmakers in our side- Will Runciman, Ed Keohane, new signing, Ben Mitchell and also young Duncan Jones have really impressed with their quick adoption of this shape, and I’m confident they can interchange pretty seamlessly now, which is a huge asset to have.
A big attraction of coming to Maidenhead, was the focus on youth at the club, so I’ve been really pleased with the input from our Colts team at training. Under the new look coaching team of Mike Andrew and Allan Greene, I know they are in safe hands, and will continue the excellent work of Gareth Andrews-Jones, who has stepped aside, after many successful years at the helm. I have enjoyed seeing up close, some of our recently graduated Colts- Elio Mandozzi, James Johnstone, Owen Langstone, Drew Prince and Phil Wells amongst others, and I know they will be the core of this club for years to come. Top boys, with bright futures.
So, what can you expect to see from the team next season?
We are going to play fast, attacking rugby, and I believe we will have the fittest team in the league. Zoran Higgins will continue to improve our set piece and breakdown work, whilst Will Greenwood has a hugely talented backline at his disposal, and I know he’s going to have them firing on all cylinders come the season opener. I’m hugely excited for the potential of this group of players, and I cannot wait to get going.
Finally, a huge congratulations to Joe Keohane and Michael Dykes, who are in the England under 18 squad touring South Africa. Leave nothing behind boys, have no regrets, and most importantly, enjoy every second.
Until next time…
Come on you Maids!