12:00PM, Saturday 27 February 2021
Head coach David Mobbs-Smith expects community clubs to bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, whether they’ve been progressive like Maids have or sat back and waited for the situation to unfold.
That’s because community clubs rely so heavily on membership and most members have remained loyal through this period of inactivity, enabling the likes of Maidenhead and others to remain on a relatively firm financial footing, despite the lack of income.
Maids have worked hard to retain members across the board by continuing to engage with players across all levels of the club. Some may have been lost to other activities, but Mobbs-Smith is hopeful the majority will be back, pulling on the Magenta and Black in the not-too-distant future. He also can’t wait to hear the roar of the Braywick Park faithful as the first team push to get over the whitewash.
“Rugby clubs on the whole should bounce back from all this because of how they’re run,” he said. “Irrespective of the financial strains that have been placed upon them.
“Whether they’ve been progressive or whether they’ve sat back and waited for all of this to unfold. You’re going to lose some players, if you haven’t worked at it, I believe that.
“You have to try and keep them linked to your game and your club in some way because there are so many other activities. There’s so much more available for young players these days, who are the ones who go on to become your senior players. There’s also more family activity in recent times. Before the pandemic, the son would go to rugby, the daughter to hockey and the third child would do the piano or something. Parents would be running around trying to get them to all these activities, but now they’re doing things together as a family and they probably quite like it.
“Well, the chauffeurs will like it because they’re not running around and being stretched to the limit. They’re off on their bike rides or whatever they’re now doing as a family.”
Looking ahead to a time when competitive matches will be played again at Braywick Park, Mobbs-Smith added that the match-day experience is so rich and diverse, and often has very little to do with the actual match. He said: “It’s going to be wonderful, and the fans will be in such a mood for celebration.
“They’ll have this moment again that’s theirs on a Saturday to cheer on their local team. It’s particularly true for town teams because in a sense they represent you. You’re from Maidenhead, it’s your club. You may have a Premiership club that you follow, but when you’re down watching Maids that’s your town, your team.
“The banter you have on a Monday or a Tuesday. Yes, some of it relates to what happened on the pitch, but much of it is to do with stuff that happened before the game or after the game. It’s the fun people have had after a match having a few beers, it’s all part of the experience and you don’t get that watching sport on TV.”
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