As the season opener draws ever closer, we are thrilled to be able to announce details of our new partnership with Championship high-flyers, Ealing Trailfinders.

Ealing are embarking on an exciting journey to build a World-class academy system, alongside Brunel University, to provide fantastic academic, sporting and life opportunities for young people. Through Academy Manager, Ty Sterry, and Head of Rugby at the Ealing/Brunel University Programme, Gareth Rise, Maidenhead were identified as a club that could help with the development of some of the young scholars from this programme, and we are absolutely delighted that 5 of the lads will be playing at Maidenhead for this coming season.

Making their debuts in Maids colours in the preseason friendly this evening against Barnes, are Charlie Dearman and Sione Funaki, with details of the 3 further additions coming in the next couple of weeks.

Charlie Dearman is a fly half/centre who was with Saracens, up until under 18 level. He has experience playing with Lambs Rugby, and went to school at New Hall School in Chelmsford, Essex. With a touch of Owen Farrell about him, Charlie is a physically-robust young man, with great comms and organisation skills. He will be working particularly closely with Will Greenwood, who had this to say “I’ve been so impressed with Charlie in training already, and from what I’ve seen, I’m convinced he has all the attributes to cut it at the very top level. I am excited about playing a part in this young man’s development, and hopeful I can lend some valuable advice, when required.”

Sione Funaki is a number 8, with some rather famous family members… ‘Tio’ as he is known to us all, is a 138kg wrecking ball, and is able to name Mako and Billy Vunipola as his cousins. Though quiet and shy off the pitch, Tio is not somebody you want rampaging down your channel- the young man can certainly shift!

Tio has previously been part of the Exeter Chiefs Academy and was schooled at Shebbear College, before joining up with Ealing this summer. Head Coach, David Mobbs-Smith had this to say about the young man; “Tio is an awesome physical specimen, and will be a huge weapon for us. In current number 8, Dave Cole, we have a fantastic, skilful mentor ready-made for Tio to learn off. I can’t wait to see him in action!”

Tio and Charlie with Sean Fitzpatrick and Michael Lynagh, before Australia v NZ

Pictured here with Will Greenwood, as he took them for work experience at Sky

Commenting on the exciting new partnership, Chairman, Steve Bough said:

“Our new Club Partnership with Ealing Trailfinders RFC is very exciting on many levels for both Maidenhead RFC and Ealing.  The opportunity for young Ealing academy players to experience senior rugby at a high level within an environment and organisation as well run as Maidenhead can only benefit the Ealing lads and they have already settled down well within our preseason training schedule; we look forward to seeing them run out in Magenta in our preseason games and showing us what they can do.

It also creates a strong link for Maidenhead with a Championship level club both with regards to sharing coaching ideas and experiences and also and offering the potential of an additional opportunity for our younger players to have access to a pathway to senior rugby.”

Charlie and Tio make their debuts for Maids tonight against Barnes, at Chiswick RFC, 8pm kick off.

Come on you Maids!