David Mobbs-Smith believes there’s a willingness from both Dorking and Maidenhead to get Saturday’s game on, despite the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 cases.
The Maids head coach expects both clubs will have a few players in enforced isolation this weekend, and accepts that may have a bearing on the outcome of the game, however, he says both teams are keen to play and get the season back up and running.
Before Christmas the league postponed one round of fixtures, with Maidenhead’s home game with Wimbledon pushed back to Saturday, February 5. It was hoped the break would act as a circuit-breaker, when combined with the Christmas and New Year break, to ensure that rising COVID cases could plateau and fall, and the season could proceed as planned from early January.
In community rugby the postponement of fixtures poses more of a problem than in other sports like football because it’s simply not possible for rugby players to play lots of mid-week games in a short space of time. “We’ve been in touch with Dorking and our match is on as it stands,” said Mobbs-Smith.
“It’s down to the clubs to talk individually about their specific situations. I can’t speak for the league or RFU, but we’ve spoken to Dorking and as far as we’re both concerned the game will be on this weekend.”
A raft of cases at either club could yet see the game postponed, while the league could choose to delay the resumption of the season, but Mobbs-Smith is hopeful these scenarios can be avoided.
“Obviously, there are things that could happen that are out of our control,” he said. “But in theory we’re down to play.
“One of the problems with rugby, that you don’t have as much with say football, is that a backlog of fixtures is much harder to deal with because of the nature of the game.
“You can’t just say, ‘we’ll play three games in seven days’ because physically the players can’t do that, they’d get injured. You might be able to do that once in a season, but, with amateur players doing it over a shorter period, it would lead to a lot of injuries.
“They also don’t want to extend the season too much because players often go off to play other sports like cricket. But what rugby does have in its favour is a couple of weather windows. Those weekends are still available and we’re down to play Wimbledon on one of those (Saturday, February 5).
“They tend to be on international weekends. You tend to find out that three or four fixtures still go ahead on these weekends because they’ve been snowed out earlier in the season. Now they’ve been COVID-ed out.”