05:02PM, Wednesday 06 November 2019
Recent history will tell you that table-topping sides visiting Braywick Road in the past few seasons often come unstuck, and captain Myke Parrott will be hoping that’s repeated when Weston-Super-Mare come to town on Saturday.
Weston’s 32-13 win over Launceston two weeks ago, combined with Barnstaple’s surprise 12-15 reverse at home to Ivybridge, has launched the side to the top of the table.
But they’ll face a Maids side still smarting from their narrow 14-12 defeat to Okehampton, and Parrott believes that once the side clicks – both in defence and attack – they’ll take some stopping.
“Any team that’s come to us and has been the leading team has found it difficult,” said Parrott.
“Bournemouth came to us last year off the back of a 12-match winning streak and we did a job on them.
“The previous year it was Dings and we beat them.
“The year before that we won the league. So we turn up for the big games. There will be a big crowd backing us and the boys are up for this one so let’s see what they’ve got.”
Maidenhead have shown they can win matches by playing free-flowing rugby, as demonstrated by their thrilling and high scoring victories over Launceston and Exeter University.
However, their copybook has been blotted by three unexpected defeats and Parrott is confident they can bounce back from what he calls a ‘rocky start’.
“Earlier in the season we were scoring tries and lots of them,” he added.
“Then we worked on our defence and we stopped teams from getting in.
“We now need to put the two together. But let’s not forget we’ve got a new head coach, new players, some young players and new systems in attack and defence so it’s going to take some time.
“But, we’re not a million miles away and I think that when we click we’ll go on a good run and get back to the top end of the table. Hopefully we can get back to the free-flowing rugby we play when we’re at our best.”
Andy Darlington is set to return to the scrum following injury and, while brother Mark is on international duty with the Netherlands this weekend, the pair should add some much needed ‘scrum power’ to the side in the coming weeks and months.
Olly Foxley remains out through injury but Mike Davies is also back in contention, which Parrott said was a huge plus.
“Elio (Mandozzi) has done phenomenally well in the scrum, but he’s half the weight of Andy Darlington,” said Parrott.
“Myself, Andy and Mark (Darlington) have hardly played together recently because of injury and together we can take teams apart in the scrum.
“But it’s also a huge asset for Weston so it’s going to be a big challenge up front.
“Hopefully after this game we can get back together and show some scrum power.”
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