Parrott worried about potential for further COVID disruption

Maidenhead’s director of rugby, Myke Parrott, admitted last week he’s concerned by the potential for further disruption to the rugby calendar if COVID cases continue to rise.

Maids’ home game against Wimbledon on Saturday was postponed by the London & South East Premier Division along with most other community rugby matches across the country in a bid by the RFU to halt the spread of the Omicron variant.

It is hoped the postponements, and the scheduled break for Christmas and New Year, will act as a circuit-breaker, enabling clubs to get back to competitive action on January 8.

Maids are next set to visit league leaders Dorking on January 8 and will play their postponed home game with Wimbledon on February 5, however, with COVID cases seemingly on the rise again, with the more transmissible Omicron becoming the leading variant, there are justifiable fears, not just in rugby, but across all sports, that further disruption could be in the offing in the new year. Parrott desperately hopes this won’t be the case with the club learning on its feet and embracing the challenges posed by life in the London leagues.

On the postponement, Parrott said: “It’s due to COVID unfortunately. We had a call from Wimbledon letting us know they were going to be requesting a postponement because of positive cases in their camp. We’ve had a couple ourselves since last Saturday (December 11) and our opposition from that game (Sevenoaks) have had four cases confirmed.

“But then we had a message from the league on Thursday saying that because of multiple cases across clubs in the league the decision had been taken to postpone all games in the league for the weekend.

“I am worried for January and after Christmas. At the moment, all we know is this round of games has been postponed until February 5. That’s all we know, and I guess we’ll just hope there are no further disruptions.”

Having to spoken to several medical professionals in the field, Parrott doesn’t believe there’s any evidence to suggest COVID is spread through playing rugby, even with the close contact between forwards in scrums and mauls. He’s hoping the disruption caused by the spread of the latest variant proves minimal and all clubs can get back to action on January 8 and league matches are played out without the need for further postponements.

He added: “From what I understand there’s very little statistical data that demonstrates that the virus has been passed on through playing rugby, and conversations we’ve had with medical professionals within the game suggest that it’s absolutely minimal so far.

“I’m going to try not to get political, but let’s just hope that this disruption is minimal because I think these young lads have had enough disruption in their lives and they want to get back to playing rugby, we all do.

“We want to get back playing, we want to get back watching we want to get back to normal.”

Pretty much all other community rugby was postponed last weekend, with Windsor’s game at Bracknell and Marlow’s trip to Reading also called off.

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