Maids agree Ealing Trailfinders Partnership

Maids agree Ealing Trailfinders Partnership

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!

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Mobbsy’s Musings

Mobbsy’s Musings

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!

Mobbs

The Comeback Kids

The Comeback Kids

(from l to r, James Parrott, Ross Muil, Tom Stileman, Christoph Bart, Jaryd Robinson)

After recent news of the addition of 4 new players to Braywick, Maids are very excited to release details of players who are returning to the club, after spells away through injury or University…

*Jaryd Robinson- after a shoulder operation in the summer, our very own ‘Rocketman’, should be back in action from September, after missing the whole of our previous campaign through injury. Arguably the quickest player in the National Leagues, Robinson is a defender’s nightmare, and Head Coach Dave Mobbs-Smith, will look forward to unleashing Robinson, at the earliest opportunity.

*Christoph Bart- another one who returns to the club after a lengthy lay off. Bart wrecked his knee with 2 games to go in our title-winning campaign of 16/17, against Oxford Harlequins. Since then, he has had 2 operations, but to the delight of all involved with Maids RFC, was discharged by his surgeon 2 weeks ago. He is now back in training, and will hopefully be back on the pitch in December.

*Ross Muil- cousin of legendary Rod Muil, and brother of Todd, Ross is another former Maids Colt, who was also a mainstay in the league-winning campaign. Ross has been at Leeds Met Uni for the previous 2 seasons, but finds himself on a local work placement this season, so will be back in a Maids shirt this year, smashing fly halves and running over defenders for fun.

*Tom Stileman- the England Students winger was contracted with Wasps last year, and although he has one more year with Oxford University, his schedule this season should enable him to play for Maidenhead, his home town club, more regularly this campaign.

*James Parrott- another former Maids Colt, James has returned to his home club, after a spell with Henley. He joins up with Dad, Ed Parrott, who is part of the coaching set up at Braywick.

*Jack Hill- the talented scrum half suffered a nasty back injury last year, so didn’t feature for Maids, but prior to that, was a mainstay in the 1st XV, despite his tender age. He is now nearing full fitness, and is looking forward to donning the magenta shirt again.

*Charlie Thomas- another one returning home after University. Charlie played his formative years at lock, but has recently transitioned to the front row. Weighing in at 130kgs+, he has all the minerals to be a first class tighthead at the club, for years to come.

*Joel Greene- son of club legend Allan Greene, young Joel is back at the club after spending time away with work. His new job means he lives locally again, and the combative back row youngster will be hoping to make an impression on the new Head Coach.

*Phil Wells- part of the National Colts Cup winning team of 2018, he is back at Braywick after moving away for his apprenticeship last year. Another talented youngster, who is the son of a former 1st XV stalwart, Andy Wells, Phil is a destructive 2nd row, who has impressed in training already with his energy and commitment.

New Head Coach, David Mobbs-Smith had this to say about his crop of returnees: “It’s always great to get new faces in the door, and I’m delighted with the 4 new additions that have come in, but to get returning Maids players, all of whom (except Jaryd) are products of the superb youth system here at Braywick, is absolutely priceless. These guys are all ‘Maids lads’, and fit into our culture and ethos, which is something that really attracted me to the club, when I first interviewed for the job. We have added some unbelievable quality and depth to the squad this summer already, and I’m seriously excited for the potential of this talented group.”

On the topic of the Maidenhead youth system, a huge congratulations must go to Joe Keohane and Michael Dykes, who have both been selected by Jim Mallinder, for the England under 18 squad to tour South Africa. Best of luck boys, we are all very proud of you!

#COYM #Maidsfamily

Mitchell adds to Maids’ Firepower

Mitchell adds to Maids’ Firepower

After the recent announcements of additions to our forward pack, Maids are ecstatic to be able to announce the joining of former Ospreys youngster, Ben Mitchell. Still only 27 years old, personal trainer Ben has been unable to commit properly to senior rugby over the last couple of seasons, featuring only on the odd occasion for Reading Abbey, but a change in circumstances means he can now play every week. Introduced to the club by number 8, Dave Cole, he follows a similar path, having played for a time in Asia, for Singapore Barbarians, and the former South West Under 18s rep is excited about playing with Cole once more;

“I came to Maids to be reunited with Coley again, who has clearly thrived in the environment over the past 2 seasons. It’s obviously a club that wants to keep improving, and I’m really excited about trying to help their bid for promotion, playing alongside a great group of lads”

Mitchell, who can play 10, 12 or 13, could almost be described as a young Will Greenwood- an intelligent rugby player, who runs excellent lines, with great communication skills, and he has caught the eye of backs coach Will Greenwood before…

“Mitchell played 10 for a relegated Reading Abbey against Maids, on the day we sealed the title a couple of years ago, and he was one of the best players on the park that day. He scored a solo try from his own half, and waltzed through our team like a knife through butter. I remember thinking what a good player he was that day, and now, after seeing him up close, I know what a good player he is. I’m delighted he’s come across, and I’m sure he’s going to be an important part of our back line for years to come”

Head Coach, Mobbs (pictured with Mitchell, above), was equally enthused about Mitchell; “The acquisition of Ben to the squad brings an experienced and talented midfielder to our ranks. His ability, both individually, ball-in-hand, and his game management and link play with others will another level to an already quality backline”.

As is always the way in rugby, we have sadly lost the services of some players this summer;

-Ryan Long, a fine servant and player at Maids sadly leaves the club to relocate to Malaysia with work.

-Perry Jansen, our talented half back was spending hours each week to get to Maidenhead, so has opted to join Sutton and Epsom in National 2, close to his home.

-Dylan Baptiste, who was commuting from Southampton 3 times a week, has joined local club Bournemouth, in National 2.

-Max Roddick, the sexiest player ever to don a Maids shirt, has relocated to North London, so cannot commit.

-Adam Lubbock has opted to retire after struggling with injuries, and work/life/rugby balance.

-Todd (Rod) Muil is foolishly off to University to sponge for 3 years, so will be joining Exeter Uni.

All these players gave 100% to the club during their time, and we wish them all the very best of luck at their new clubs, and sincerely hope they return ‘home’ to Braywick before too long.

With the departure of these key players, Maids have worked hard to bring in quality replacements, and look forward to announcing the rest of the incoming players over the course of the next few weeks.

Campbell joins ‘Mobbsy’s Mob’!

Campbell joins ‘Mobbsy’s Mob’!

Maids have further strengthened their armoury for the season ahead, with the capture of RAF second row, Chris Campbell, who has recently moved to the area with work. 26 year old Campbell played at National 1 side Darlington Mowden Park, with Maids flanker Will Macaulay, who gave him a glowing reference, as a player, and more importantly, as a person.

Forwards Coach, Zoran Higgins had this to say, on the newest addition to his well-stocked forward options;

“we were on the lookout for a line-out guru, especially with the news that Ryan Long is moving abroad with work. When Macaulay told us about Campbell, we got in touch straight away, and we’re delighted he’s opted to join us at Braywick. We’ve made some changes to our line-out system this coming season, and having someone of his ability and experience will no doubt help us further improve an already well-functioning set piece”.

Maids were light of 2nd row options at times last season, with an early season injury to Sam Hallett, causing him to miss the majority of the campaign. However, with the retention of Hallett and Sam Churchyard, plus promising youngster Levi Meek, as well as the return of young Phil Wells, Maids are now well stocked in this area, with a nice blend of youth and experience.

Campbell, who moved to the area 2 weeks ago wasn’t short of options for his services this season, but he has heard good things from Macaulay, and it was the upbeat, positive vibe at Braywick, which really appealed to him; “Maids are a good club, with a decent set of blokes. I want to play in a good environment, and enjoy my rugby- I’m confident I’ve made the right choice.”

Head Coach, Dave Mobbs-Smith (pictured above, with Campbell), added “Chris joining Maids has given the forward pack a lift, both in his aerial ability at line-out, and his strong running lines in support. I’m looking forward to seeing him in action, in our upcoming preseason friendlies”.

News of other additions will be released in the next week, so watch this space!

#COYM

 

Hostetler Climbs Aboard Maids Train!

Hostetler Climbs Aboard Maids Train!

Maids are delighted to announce their 2nd front row addition in 2 days, with the arrival of hooker, Dan Hostetler, a former USA U20 squad member who has also represented South West Under 18, Wasps Academy, Bedford under 19, and Cardiff University 1st XV. Last year, Dan played his maiden season of adult rugby at local rivals, Marlow, his hometown club, but is now looking to kick on and test himself at a higher level, and he’s made a good impression in the first 5 week block of training already;

“I’ve been really impressed with young Dan, since he rocked up at the first training session, at the start of June. He’s in good shape, and performed well in the preliminary fitness tests. He’s been an ever-present at training, and is clearly working hard to improve- I’m looking forward to seeing him play in our preseason games, and I’m very confident he can step up and compete at this level”, Will Greenwood.

Hostetler in Marlow colours last season

 

Talking about his decision to come over to Braywick, Hostetler said he is “looking forward to getting stuck in” and is keen to “contribute to the set up, and hopefully promotion”.

As well as being able to add to his front row options, new Head Coach, Mobbs-Smith has also managed to keep hold of all of his unit from last season, meaning he has a wealth of options at his disposal, something he was clearly delighted with;

“The front row is such a combative place, that there are always going to be injuries, requiring replacements. I am very happy I’ve been able to add young Dan to our armoury, and with Mark Darlington in our squad, there could not be a better player for him to learn off. Mark, and also his brother Andrew, are fantastic at working with our young front row boys, and I’m sure in years to come, there will be a tasty conveyor belt of Maidenhead scrum monsters that these guys have helped develop. It’s an extremely exciting prospect.”

Hostetler in action for Cardiff Uni 1st XV

Maids resume their preseason training this coming Tuesday (16th July) after a week off, and will be releasing further details of new additions to the squad then.

Come on you Maids!

Curran Commits!

Curran Commits!

Maids are delighted to unveil their first summer signing, as young Sam Curran joins the club from National One side, Richmond. 22 year old Curran, who is primarily a tight head prop, is well known to first team coaches Dave Mobbs-Smith and Zoran Higgins after working under their tutelage at Hampton School.

Curran boasts an impressive playing CV already, having been part of Wasps Academy, along with representative honours for Middlesex County and South West U18, with British and Irish Cup experience gained with Richmond as well.

Commenting on their new acquisition, Mobbs had this to say “I’m really pleased to be able to add Sam to our list of front row options. I know we have a very powerful scrummaging unit already, but what I like about Sam, is that he’s going to give us something a little different- he’s an excellent ball carrier, very quick and a smart footballer. I want us to play fast, attacking rugby, and Sam is the kind of dynamic player I like.”

Maids were unlucky with injuries last season in the front row department, with Myke Parrott, Andy Darlington, Mark Darlington and Lewis Jones all missing sizeable chunks of games through differing ailments, so a high quality addition to the front row has been a point of discussion for a number of months now, and when Forwards Coach, Higgins approached Curran about coming aboard, he had little hesitation. This is what the new lad had to say about coming to Braywick:

“Maidenhead has been on the move in recent seasons and are proving themselves to be a very hard working and exciting team. I want to be able to continue to grow and develop as a player and it seems Maids is the right place to do that and to help continue their run of form. Representing such a club with lots of heritage and some past great players behind the shirt will be a great privilege.

I want to give everything I can and hopefully help the team push for the top of the league. The preseason has certainly been tough but the boys and myself included are working hard now but it will pay dividends later on in the season, hopefully I just add another string to an already well strung bow.”

The squad enjoyed some time off this week, after a gruelling 5 week block, which started first week of June. New Strength and Conditioning Coach, Murray Barratt has put the boys through their paces, and it’s evident that significant progress is being made already.

Further squad updates will follow soon, as well as an interview with new Head Coach, Dave Mobbs-Smith. We are also hoping to reveal details of an exciting new partnership, which we hope to be finalised next week. Lots going on, so watch this space!