06:00PM, Wednesday 25 May 2022
Photo: Stephen Bough
Smiles were on a countless number of faces both on and off the field at Braywick Park last week as Maidenhead RFC hosted a veterans match for the first time in many years.
On Friday night, Maids invited Beaconsfield RFC Vets to play out a sociable game of rugby but one that the hosts emerged victorious in, winning 28-19.
Organised by director of rugby Myke Parrott, he was delighted with how the occasion unfolded and was also pleased to have scored a couple of tries himself when he took to the pitch as a ‘young veteran’.
“We had a vets friendly against a touring side maybe four or five years ago but we haven’t put together an established vets team in, I don’t know how long, it’s got to be at least 10 years,” says Parrott.
“It’s been ages and ages, so it’s been something I’ve really wanted to get going again.
“With our third team becoming less social and a bit more serious now, which is of course brilliant for the club, I wanted to give an opportunity to the boys who want to get back playing more sociable rugby.
“It was an amazing occasion and we had some brilliant legends return to the fold.
“It started off as a relatively young vets side really. In the starting XV, there were a lot of players around 35, 36, and 37 with a few over 40s. Then in the second half, some more of the older boys who were 50 plus came on and had a run about which was great.
Parrott added: “I put the boots on too which was great. I’m 36-years-old so a young veteran really.
“Before I retired, the one thing I was good at was scrummaging. I’ve lost four-and-a-half stone now so I can’t really do that anymore but I did score two tries.
“It was just fun to go out there with my mates and have a run about again.”
Parrott is optimistic of making the matches a regular occurrence at Braywick Park next season, saying that the demand is there by both players and spectators.
“Player-wise, we had about 25 turn up which was great and spectators in attendance, we must have had over 100,” he said.
“There were a lot of boys who brought their kids to watch them play for the first time which was pretty cool, and loads of the older boys that are past playing came down to watch aswell.
“Unless we get an absolute influx of players wanting to make it more serious, I think next year we will just arrange for Friday night friendlies with other local clubs, under the lights, every five or six weeks.
“People then won’t have the family pressures of spending a whole Saturday away. People like me, for example, can also play the Friday night and then help with the first team on Saturday.
“If teams are scrambling for numbers and they need a couple of boys that aren’t quite 35, it doesn’t matter, we just want to get people playing.
“There are no plans at the moment for it to be a league, it’s just to get people back involved with Maidenhead and get a bit more rugby in on a Friday night.”