09:00AM, Friday 21 February 2020
Rory Hannigan played for Maidenhead 2nds on Saturday
Maidenhead RFC’s clubhouse was bouncing on Saturday night, despite the first team’s game against Okehampton being postponed due to the weather.
In their place the second team took centre stage at Braywick Park and claimed another mightily impressive scalp as they beat Henley Wanderers 2nds 27-5 in the Zoo Sports Shield Division 2 clash.
Afterwards the players waved their shirts above their heads in the clubhouse as they celebrated what’s becoming a very memorable season.
It was initially feared the side might struggle to make the step up from Berks, Bucks & Oxon competition to play in Division 2 of the Shield competition – against teams from National League 2 set-ups.
However, they’ve beaten the likes of Leicester Lions Development, Sutton & Epsom 2nds and leaders Bury St Edmunds Wolfhounds 2nds to move up to fifth in the division.
The side are more than holding their own in a very competitive division and many of the second team are now pushing to play a part for the first team in the South West Premier.
On Saturday they swept to a very encouraging win in difficult but playable conditions.
Joe Brawn broke the deadlock when he touched down in the corner before Drew Prince sniped through to make it 12-0 with Duncan Jones’ conversion. A further penalty from Jones followed by Ed Atkins’ touchdown from a lineout drive put them in control at 20-0 and the scoring was capped off when Mike Skelton went scampering down the left wing to score a bonus point try.
Next up for the side is a trip to Ampthill Jets 3rds on Saturday.
The performance clearly impressed head coach David Mobbs-Smith.
“We had a brilliant day at the club on Saturday,” he said. “It was the fourth scalp taken by the club’s 2nds against a National 2 set-up this season.
“This season they’ve beaten Henley, Leicester Lions, Sutton & Epsom and Bury St Edmunds who are all from National 2 clubs. It’s an outstanding achievement by the squad and it’s not like we loaded the team with first team players.
“We’re much higher up the league than we thought we were going to be when they changed it to a two league structure. We thought we’d be doing well to survive at this level but we’re doing more than just surviving. It’s really good.
“There’s quite a few players from the u18s squad that won the nationals a few years ago and they’re playing exceptionally well.”
He added: “We have a first team squad and on a Sunday we just pick two teams from it to play the following weekend. The reality is that it’s one squad and there’s a lot of fluidity between the two teams in terms of selection.
“Hopefully we can keep this development going.
“The club has an amazing youth section and, for me, it’s one of the biggest success stories this season.
“The seconds have moved from the Berks, Bucks & Oxon League and we’re now in this national league and beating some strong sides.”
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