05:30PM, Thursday 09 December 2021
After taking a couple of hefty 'kicks to the nuts' in recent matches, Maidenhead RFC were saved by a Prince in the closing stages of Saturday's 24-20 win over Sutton & Epsom at Braywick Park.
This was a game Maids could have won more convincingly, had they taken the chances which fell their way, but as the clock ticked passed 80 minutes, they trailed 17-20 and looked to be headed for another agonising and ill-deserved defeat.
Then a couple of the old guard stepped forward, Jamie Townsend broke clear and passed for Will Macaulay who darted through a gap and popped up the perfect pass for Drew Prince to race over and touch down with the last play of the game.
In recent weeks Maids have been coming out on the wrong side of several narrow defeats but, on this occasion, the rub of the green was with them as they beat Sutton despite being outscored by four tries to three.
Jack Hill and Niall Crosley scored Maids other tries and, crucially, they were all converted by Conor Graney, who also slotted a late penalty to put the hosts within touching distance of victory.
Prince then applied the coup de grace and Maids finally had their long overdue third win of the season, a result that lifts them to 12th in the London & South East Premier Division table ahead of Saturday's trip to fifth placed Sevenoaks.
“It was a great finish,” said Myke Parrott, the club's director of rugby.
“If we're honest we should have been home and dry like in a lot of games this year and this result should do them the world of good.
“We feel like there's three or even four games this season we should have won and didn't. They got away from us, even going back to pre-season and that game with Henley. We should have beaten them, we should have beaten North Walsham, we should have beaten Sidcup at home
“So, for us, we’ve had so many bad luck games, it feels like we just keep getting hit in the nuts, and it gets compounded and compounded. So, it was nice to come out on the right side of some late drama for once.”
And what drama it was. Parrott was left almost speechless on the sidelines with his hands on his head as Prince collected Macaulay's perfect pass and charged for the line.
“Look at that try and look at two of our older lads, Jamie Townsend and Will Macaulay,” added Parrott. “They've been phenomenal for us this season. Jamie straightens up and hits Macca, who could have just given it, but he dummies and goes through the gap, and then, literally the last act of the game he puts it right in the breadbasket for Drew Prince. Phenomenal skill and it puts Drew in to win the game. If you watch the video back everyone else is going nuts but you can see me with my hands on my head thinking 'oh my god, we've done it'.”
Maids now have a tricky spell of fixtures between now and Christmas as they travel to play a strong Sevenoaks side before welcoming Wimbledon to Braywick Park the following weekend.
Maidenhead and Slough travellers have long been waiting for the arrival of Crossrail to whisk them quickly into central London.