10:00AM, Sunday 08 November 2020
David Mobbs-Smith believes Maidenhead RFC have the ambition and potential to be considered in the same bracket as the country's big, famous community rugby clubs such as Rosslyn Park or Richmond.
He believes they’re already close to emulating those clubs in terms of their approach to all levels of the club, whether that’s the first team, the newly-formed ladies teams, the Colts or the juniors.
A second national lockdown will be another kick in the teeth for a club that’s desperate to get back to playing and training as normal. But Mobbs-Smith is confident they’ll react and adapt to this latest setback in the right way. Conversations have already turned to how they plan to make the most of this period, with a coach education programme set to be rolled out across all levels of the club while ‘everything else shuts down’.
“You’ve got to try and keep people engaged,” said Mobbs-Smith. “Most players feel the need for some competition to make it all feel worthwhile. And from a coaching perspective, that might be someone’s livelihood.
“At Maidenhead we have such a willing and dynamic board that wants to find solutions for everything. So, during this lockdown when everything shuts down, we’ll use that as a coach education period. We’ll develop all our coaches during this period, right across the board. It’s not all doom and gloom, there are always ways to try and find an advantage. That’s the beauty of Maidenhead, they have this mentality to try and find solutions for everything. We had some touch competitions lined up this month which will hopefully be transferred to December if we’re allowed to play them then.”
The first XV receive the weekly headlines and get the column inches, but Mobbs-Smith says there’s so much more to Maidenhead RFC than the senior men’s side. He’s excited by the progress being made by teams at all ages and levels and says the ethos of the club is similar to the likes of Rosslyn Park, Richmond and Blackheath – famous rugby clubs whose first teams play just a little higher than Maids.
“This is a big club in the community,” he said. “There are six-year-olds who come to play here and 50-year-olds. There might be a team that plays at the top level, but the first XV isn’t the rugby club. The club is so much more than the 15 players who run out to play for the firsts.
“If you come down here on a Sunday morning there are 50-60 kids at training with 120 parents and siblings watching them. That’s part of Maidenhead RFC. That isn’t the feeder system for Maidenhead RFC, that is Maidenhead RFC, all under one badge.
“The board is very much focused on achieving success in a sustainable way. Some clubs achieve that by having a benefactor, but the teams that maintain it at the highest level continuously are run as one club. They just happen to have very good first teams playing between the u7s and the vets. Most of those clubs are the big, famous clubs like Rosslyn Park, Richmond and Blackheath. Regionally we’re already do this, it’s just a case of whether we can climb one more league.
“There is a new league structure that’s likely to be brought in, but they couldn’t really do that on this season. I think there are going to be some very interesting developments when we do eventually go back to playing our regular rugby season.”
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