Parrott: 'Maids adjusting to the pace and physicality of the teams in London & SE Division'

Adjusting to life in the London & South East Premier Division has not been particularly smooth for Maidenhead RFC as they seek to get to grips with sides that are smarter, faster and fitter.

Maids finally won their first game of the season as they edged out Tunbridge Wells 16-10 in a compelling game played in horrendous conditions at Braywick Park (pictured right).

After four straight losses it was a big relief to all at the club to finally get that first W on the board and director of rugby Myke Parrott believes the players are now starting to get used to the tempo and tactical changes brought about by their switch to the London league.

He admits it will be a learning curve, but says this young, inexperienced side will reap the benefits in seasons to come.

He also partially attributes the side’s sluggish start to a ‘nightmare’ run of injuries which has left Maids looking light in several areas.

“It’s easy to look at the first four games and think it’s been a disaster,” said Parrott. “But it’s a learning curve for us.

“This is a new league and it’s very different for us, tactically and physically, and I actually think we played three of the strongest sides in the league back-to-back in our first three games.

“In every single one of those matches we picked up key injuries. It’s just been a nightmare with an injury list the like of which I’ve never seen before in my life. It’s been horrendous.”

Points have been hard to come by, but the performances haven’t been too bad. They could easily have beaten North Walsham in their first game of the season before a couple of errors saw the visitors snatch victory from the clutches of defeat, and they were leading going into the closing minutes of their 27-18 defeat at Tring before conceding two late tries.

“We played some good stuff in those first games,” Parrott insists. “I think we deserved to win against Tring away, and we feel we should have beaten North Walsham. We lost to Dorking and Wimbledon, but they are just exceptional sides at this level.

“We’re still a way off where we want to be, but every week we’re learning. We have a young pack, and there are a lot of players with single digits next to their names in terms of caps (appearances).

It just shows we haven’t been able to get an experienced side out every week. But we’re going to see the benefit of blooding these young players in three or four seasons. Some of the lads might be finding it a little bit tough at the moment, but we’re supporting them and we’re enjoying the journey.”

Parrott added: “The league is different for sure. Sides are smarter, fitter and they utilise their kickers much better. There’s an adjustment to be made and we need to catch up on the fitness front but that’s something we’re working really hard on.”

Next up for Maids is a home game against Hertford this Saturday.

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