11:59AM, Monday 22 February 2021
David Mobbs-Smith has reiterated his hope that the club will return to some form of friendly or competitive action this season.
The Maids head coach remains hopeful that players of all ages and both sexes will be able to train and play matches again in the coming months, with the Government set to provide some guidance this month on the pathway out of lockdown and back to normality.
And behind the scenes the players are keeping themselves in as good a shape as possible so they’re ready to return to the pitch as soon as the authorities allow it.
League matches won’t be played this season, at least not for the first team, but Mobbs-Smith does believe adaptive, contact matches could be arranged for Maids to play some of their local rivals in May or even June.
“If we’re able to start back in May, we’ll certainly be training and trying to get some games in that period,” said the head coach, “We’ll look to play some form of rugby in the summer, having not played, and then the new season would start again in September, as if nothing had happened in the past 18 months.
“Our players are doing fitness tests this week. It’s not like we’re being dormant. We just can’t do team environment training at the moment, but behind the scenes we’re doing every we can to prepare for the start of the season.”
Maidenhead’s return to the training field and the rugby pitch remains in the hands of the Government and the RFU, and Mobbs-Smith expects conversations are currently taking place within the RFU over how community clubs can safely get back to action. When the country was placed back into lockdown after Christmas all community clubs returned to stage 1 of the RFU’s return to rugby roadmap and they may have to work their way through the phases once again before competitive contact matches can be played again.
“How quickly we can return is not in our hands,” said Mobbs-Smith. “All we can do is try to keep people as fit as possible, then we can spend a little bit more time on the technical and tactical side of the game from the very start, because we’ll have stayed relatively fit during this lay off period. Every time there’s been a window to play, we’ve been out training and preparing as if the next game was the following week. Hopefully, because of this, we’ll catch up quite quickly. The sounds coming from Government would suggest it’s going to be another gradual process, but we may get permission to extend the season a little in the amateur game to allow some games to be played. The biggest problem for rugby at this level is how hard the grounds can be in the summer, but for clubs like Maidenhead with an artificial pitch it’s irrelevant. If someone was prepared to come to our place we could play.
“I’m hoping that will be in May, or perhaps even in June. We could then have a six-week window to play, and I’m guessing these discussions are going on all the time at the RFU and being adapted and changed depending on the circumstances. Will we play in the league before September, no. But will we play local fixtures against the likes of Bracknell or Windsor, there’s a chance of that happening.
“I know the Rams are very keen to get back and do something before the start of the season, so perhaps we could play them or have joint training sessions. We’ll be looking at all these avenues.
“We’re ready to do all of these things, but will we be allowed to?”
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