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Work of 'unsung heroes' will give Maidenhead RFC an advantage over rivals

Maidenhead RFC will have some huge advantages over their rivals when competitive action resumes later this year, thanks to the hard work of the club’s ‘unsung heroes’, says Myke Parrott.

While many clubs have mothballed operations these past few months, Maidenhead have remained ‘buoyant’ and have, if anything, strengthened relationships across the club and between age groups.

The pandemic may have prevented teams from training and playing together on a regular basis, but Maids have simply shifted the emphasis online, and director of rugby Parrott believes this will benefit the club hugely when teams from all age groups get back on the pitch. They’ve recently established a new women’s team, The Iron Maidens, and have grand plans to improve every aspect of the club.

“I think we’re going to have some huge advantages coming out of this period,” said Parrott. “The collaboration we’ve had between the juniors and seniors, the ladies and the third team has been great, and all the things we’ve been doing should benefit the whole club.

“When the first team get back to action, I know when I reach out to the kids, they will be more willing to help us out on a Saturday because they now know more of us.

“Likewise, when I ask the seniors to come down on a Sunday to help with the juniors coaching, there’s going to be a lot more of them putting their hands up because they know more of the coaches through Zoom sessions or coaching sessions. Everything we’re doing is about bringing the club together and making us stronger. I’d like to think we’ll show that when we get back to playing again.”

Maidenhead have been leading the way for community clubs in the UK. They were one of the first clubs to return for socially distanced training back in the summer, putting in a host of rigorous protocols to ensure players’ safety. They were also one of the first clubs to stage touch 10s competitions when restrictions were eased in the Autumn and they had been due to play one of the first adaptive contact matches last month before the borough was moved into tier 4. Parrott believes this mindset will stand them in good stead to achieve even greater success in the coming years.

“We’ve got some brilliant people at the club, like Mobbsy (David Mobbs-Smith), Boughy (Steve Bough), Mike Andrews is an unsung hero as are Geoff and Dickie.

“Despite the scenario we’re faced with now, we’re always thinking about being ambitious. We’re going to be forward thinking. We’re going to try and engage with people; we’re going to do our best. Whatever happens, Maidenhead is in a great place. All we need now is for the rugby to come back and we can then start proving it on the pitch.

“Some clubs have just written off this season and said they’ll stay closed until pre-season starts in July or August. If the Government turned around today and said that matches are back tomorrow, we’d be back training tonight and ready to play tomorrow. As soon as we can we’ll be back playing, whether that’s March, April, May, June or July. Our young seniors need to be back playing rugby, they need to be seeing their mates and they need to be exercising and enjoying themselves.

“They’ve had a year of their career cruelly taken away. There are lads that would have hit 100 caps for the club during this time. Others have seen their circumstances change, Andy Darlington for example has now left the club. Others have been forced to relocate and are no longer part of this very special club. So, a lot has been taken away from these young men and women, the girls’ section was about to get rocking and rolling, the juniors haven’t been able to get down to the club and do what they love, and it kills me. It’s vitally important we get back as soon as possible.

“We won’t be waiting until next season to play.

“As soon as we can we’ll be playing sevens matches, we’ll be doing 10s touch rugby, we’ll be putting on socials and doing everything we can.”

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