06:15PM, Wednesday 18 September 2019
David Mobbs-Smith admits Maidenhead RFC were pushed to their full capacity by a ‘special’ Exeter University side on Saturday, but the older heads showed the greater fighting spirit and heart in the closing stages to fight back for victory.
A topsy-turvy clash at Braywick Park saw both sides run in several tries but the strength and conditioning work Maids have been doing in pre-season paid off in the latter stages.
Trailing 43-33 in the final minutes Maids’ Dave Cole crashed over before Ed Keohane scored – then under great pressure – converted an 80th minute try to snatch victory and maintain their unbeaten run.
“I turned to Zoran, one of my coaches, and I said ‘this is going to be one of them 40-something, 40-something games. I’m not sure who’s going to win this but it’s going to be exciting’.
“But you have to say it was favouring them. But we’ve worked unbelievably hard on our fitness and in the end it was the older team who scored the last two tries to win the game. That shows you how hard the boys have worked on their fitness this season.
“They (Exeter) were special, weren’t they? They really looked to play us at our full capacity but because of our pre-season we were able to stand up to it.”
The new head coach accepted the performance wasn’t perfect, the very nature of the scoreline suggested that, but whatever the outcome of Keohane’s injury-time kick, he’d have been talking up the positives of the game post match.
“I’m thrilled,” he added. “The guys deserved that and you’ve got to have these high moments every now and again.
“In a 45-43 game there are going to be mistakes. But before the final kick, when I knew we had a draw, I said to myself I’ll be going in and saying positive things. How can you be harsh on them when they’ve scored six tries.
“There are a couple of things (that weren’t good) but they weren’t things we’re not aware of. It’s just that at this level if you don’t get things right in certain areas of the pitch good sides will hurt you.
“Ed (Keohane) had just missed a similar kick, so can you imagine the pressure on him. It was a special moment. We talk a lot about individuals and what they can do on the pitch to affect the game.”
On Saturday Maids are back on the road at Exmouth where Mobbs-Smith is expecting a very different contest. Exmouth hammered Launceston 76-24 away at the weekend but drew their opening game at home to Ivybridge 17-17.
“Exmouth away is a very different proposition,” he said. “We’ll have to come up with a different game plan for that one. This is the interesting part of the league. We play here on the artificial surface and then we go away and play on the grass against a really strong team.
“I’ll have to look at them on video and come up with some ideas.”
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