10:00AM, Friday 09 October 2020
Maidenhead’s new director of rugby Myke Parrott is determined to help make the club ‘as good as it possibly can be’, and the signs of that potential, growth and expansion are already there to see.
This Saturday the club will host another of its ‘Ready For Rugby’ 10-a-side touch competitions, but this time for veteran players, with the likes of Allan Greene, Mark Mueller, Mark Ruddick Rob Hawkins and Pete Nisbet set to pull on their boots.
In the next few weeks, the club will stage similar competitions for its colts sides, ladies’ teams as well as the Berkshire Unicorns, while Parrott is hopeful teams from London Welsh and Ealing will join London Scottish in a touch event he’s calling the ‘Gun Tournament’.
While many clubs have battened down the hatches over the past few months, Maids have adapted to the situation and tried to remain positive and upbeat. They were one of the first clubs in the country to return to small training sessions while the relaxing of restrictions has enabled them to stage competitions and bring the colts sides back for training sessions. They’ve essentially done as much as they’re legally allowed to in order to bring back a sense of normality.
“Saturday is going to be brilliant,” said Parrott, of the Vets competition. “It will be a little round-robin tournament against some other sides. Hopefully we’ll get a few people down watching, buying some beers and spending a bit of money at the bar.
“The old boys should love it and I want to try and do things like this a bit more regularly. It’s about trying to connect with a lot of the ex-players, many of whom we don’t see nearly as much as we’d like. That’s something I want to change.
“You’d have to ask them if they’d played recently. I was fortunate enough to play with Greener (Allan Greene) on tour maybe three years ago in Budapest. I don’t know if he’s played much since and I doubt he’s done much touch rugby, but the lads are looking forward to getting back together, getting the kit on and strutting their stuff on the hallowed turf.
“We’re trying to keep busy. We’ve got what we’re calling the Gun Tournament, where we’ve got Championship side London Scottish entering two sides and I’m hoping Ealing from the Championship and London Welsh are going to send sides. There are some high calibre teams in that one.
“Then on October 24 we’ve got a women’s tournament which I’m really excited about. A club like Maidenhead should have a thriving women’s section, and I’m very determined that that tournament will be the journey to getting that up and running again. And then on November 7 the Berkshire Unicorns are hosting a tournament as well so there’s lots in the diary.”
Parrott expects to be able to announce some further first team signings in the coming week and is delighted by the additions they’ve made in both the men’s and women’s sections. The club’s proactive strategy to the coronavirus pandemic appears is also having a positive impact and the director of rugby says his inbox is filing up with approaches from players of all ages who want to join the club.
“We’ve got some very good additions and I will be writing a feature on the ins and outs next week,” he said. “I’ll happily provide more details then, but I’m absolutely delighted with the signings we’ve made. People will look at our social media and see that we’re a forward-thinking club. Many clubs have just battened down the hatches, but we’ve tried to stay positive and upbeat. I’m convinced that’s why we’ve got new players joining every week in the men’s and women’s sections. Our proactive strategy is working.
“I think there is so much potential here. It’s going to take a lot of hard work. For example, growing the women’s section we’re going to need a new head coach in there. We’re also helping to coach the youth age groups and we’re integrating the Unicorns more.
“We’re trying to get a Vets team out. It’s a lot of work and it will take time to get the people into these positions, but once we do it’s going to be a brilliant place, or an even better place should I say. I want more ex-players and old boys engaged, I’ve got two little girls now, six and three, and I want them to play their rugby at Maidenhead, I want there to be a pathway for them. I want more social players;
“I want more senior players. I just want the club to be as good as it can be. We’ve got some fantastic people on the committee and around the club and I’m so sure we can do some great things at Braywick, not just for the first team but all over the club.”
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