10:15AM, Thursday 15 April 2021
Myke Parrott believes the only way Maidenhead RFC are going to achieve their lofty ambitions in the new season is by being a club united and all sing from the same hymn sheet.
In September, Maids will step into the London and South East Premier Division for the first time having moved sideways out of the South West Premier Division following the curtailment of last season.
Parrott had previously told the Advertiser of the club’s ambitions to gain promotion to National League 2, but also stressed the importance this week of his players enjoying themselves on and off the pitch.
“We will always be, first and foremost, ensuring we enjoy ourselves,” said the Director of Rugby.
“We have lofty ambitions on the pitch, of course, but I strongly believe that if we get our environment right, enjoy each other’s company and the brand of rugby, then we will achieve great things.
“We will train hard and battle well in our fixtures, but I also want to encourage the social side even more so than we have previously done.
“I want lads sticking around after training, having a beer, and all eating together like we did pre-lockdown.
“The only way we are going to achieve our aims is by being a very united club and all sing from the same hymn sheet.
“I feel that is a big part of my role to encourage that ethos and vibe moving forward.”
On competing in the new division, Parrott said: “There will be lots of new challenges for us which is exciting.
“We understand and appreciate the nostalgia attached to the South West league where we have always historically been placed. We will miss the coach trips down to Cornwall and Devon, but from my perspective, this is a new era for us.
“If we want to compete and kick on, which I firmly believe we can do, then we need to embrace these challenges.
“Being in this new league will help with our player recruitment and our player availability because we have lads that live in London already.
“It will also hopefully help with commitment because we’re not going to be travelling down to the coast from Maidenhead every other Saturday at 7am.
“Those boys that have to teach or work on that morning should, in theory, be able to travel away with us aswell.”
“It’s no secret that if you look at the strength of the London leagues as well, over the last 10 years, most of the teams that have come through the London Premier into National 2 seem to fare better than the teams in the South West divisions.
“So, it’ll certainly make us battle-hardened and ready for the next step.”
The first team players have now had five training sessions together, according to Parrott, after restrictions on grassroots sport were lifted in March.
Some have even been hitting the gym this week, after they were reopened on Monday, to get themselves back in peak condition ahead of the club's friendly fixtures in May.
“It's clear that we have been away from rugby for a long time,” said Parrott.
“I think a lot of the lads would happily admit that their strength numbers are way down compared to before lockdown.
“As a prop forward, I definitely know I am not as strong having been at the gym for three days.
“It's such a physical contact sport so we now need to be really careful about how we transition the boys back into contact again.”
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