04:00PM, Friday 05 January 2018
HEAD coach Russell Bolton won’t allow his Maidenhead RFC squad to get ahead of themselves, but he believes a top three finish this season is a distinct possibility.
Maids are flying high in fourth place at around the halfway point in the season, thanks in the main to their terrific home form, which has seen them go unbeaten at Braywick Park for more than two years.
That record is sure to be severely tested when league leaders Dings Crusaders come to town on Saturday, but Bolton is confident there is enough quality in his squad to upset the table-toppers.
He’s also certain that many of the strategies and tactics he’s been attempting to implement will now start to come to fruition in the second half of the season.
He said: “We’re in fourth position and we’re happy with that. But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.
“We’re not that far ahead of the teams in mid-table and a couple of bad results could see us fall back.
“If we were to finish in this position at the end of the season that would be brilliant.
“But if we beat Dings, and I’m confident we can do that, we’ll only be five/six points off the pace. In a league as competitive as this, that’s nothing.
“We wouldn’t say that we’re having a league winning season, but you never know what might happen.
“A top three finish is a definite possibility with the talent we have in the squad.”
Maidenhead were beaten
44-33 by Cleve in their last match before Christmas, and Bolton is well aware that they’ll need to improve on that score if they’re to stand any chance of rubbing shoulders with the promotion contenders in this campaign.
While the scoreline at Cleve was a respectable one, Bolton conceded the performance was less than impressive.
Bolton added: “We allowed the game to get away from us in the first half.
“We made it a bit more respectable in the second half, and adapted to the conditions
“We showed in that second half that we were the better team, but it was another lesson to show us we have to play for the full 80 minutes.
“We’ll need to do that on Saturday and must be competitive from the very first minute.
“We’re the home side and the 2nds and 3rds don’t have a game, so hopefully there will be a nice little crowd there.”
With the players having also had a few weeks rest over the Christmas period, Bolton believes his squad will be fresher in body and mind for the challenge of Dings.
“We’ve had the ideal amount of time off really,” he said.
“It’s a mental break for the players as much as a physical one. We’re over halfway through the season but it feels like we’re two thirds of the way through, as it’s such a long slog to Christmas.
“The boys needed a rest and some family time. It will have been good for them.
“In the second half of the season is also when you usually start to see the things you’ve worked on in training come to fruition.”
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