12:00PM, Saturday 21 May 2022
While the Maidenhead RFC players put their feet up and enjoy a well-earned break before pre-season, head coach David Mobbs-Smith (above) has been using his time in the close season to enhance his skill set with sevens side the Ramblin Jesters.
Less than 24 hours after Maids rounded off their London & South East Premier Division season with defeat at North Walsham (April 23), Mobbs-Smith was back on the sidelines coaching the Jesters, a team he’s helped coach for more than 10 years.
It’s a thoroughly rewarding commitment, he says, helping young players adapt to the men’s game while improving himself as a head coach in the process.
Speaking to the Advertiser earlier this month, Mobbs-Smith said: “We finished our season at North Walsham, and I got home quite late on Saturday night. But I was up at 7.30am on Sunday for my first sevens tournament.
“I do these tournaments in the summer months, and they’ve been a major part of my coach development. I can’t speak for other coaches, but they really are outstanding to enhance your skillset.
“The speed of decision-making, the style of teams – which are invitational – and trying to get a team, that only train together on a weekly basis, playing a cohesive game is a great challenge.
“It’s a great environment for players too.
“You touch the ball more, make decisions more, and your errors are so much more highlighted in sevens. It’s a great tool for a player to develop on their rugby pathway.
“The sevens team I work with are talented youth players all the way up to full internationals. There’s nothing better than watching players fly who didn’t think they could fly. We have had three schoolboys play for us and one is now going to Alcester. To see him play at that level from where he was is amazing.”
On Maids’ pre-season preparations, Mobbs-Smith added: “The boys will be back in training in June. The management team will be meeting up a bit before that to talk through everything and put things in place for what lies ahead.
“There is a lot of adaption from our perspective again. I think we’re going to be in a different regional structure next season by the looks of things. We will also be without Ed Keohane who has been a club stalwart for many years.
“He was a huge influence this season and we will no doubt miss him. Like every team, you have to adjust and adapt when those types of situations come around. The time before the pandemic it was Will Runciman who left.
“Those players, that are in the spine of the team, are very difficult to replace because they usually have a role off the field aswell. They are more than just the player you see on the pitch. It’s not an easy job to find a replacement.
“You can sometimes find a player to fill the position on the pitch, but you need to find the person who has the personality off it too. Sometimes the person has to develop that. Ed Keohane leaving now is not Ed Keohane of eight years ago.”
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.