05:06PM, Monday 06 June 2016
(First published in the Maidenhead Advertiser on Thursday, March 17)
What a load of hogwash.
If you believe the head coaches of Maidenhead and Windsor rugby clubs – who both seem to have the same script writer this week – neither want the clash between the two teams at Braywick on Saturday to descend into a typical derby.
I understand the motives, I‘m just not certain I believe the rhetoric.
It seems to me that mind games are at work here.
Both are talking about ‘performance’ and ‘getting back to basics’ and didn't even want to mention the d-word (derby).
Well, I’m going to stick my neck on the line and suggest that Russell Bolton and Paul Britton might say they want one thing, but that’s not what they are going to get.
It’s been a while, but I think this head-to-head might become just that; a clash of noggins with a few upper cuts tossed in.
I think there is enough feeling on both sides to make this scenario highly likely.
I still reckon that the 60-0 thrashing at Home Park last season is unfinished business for Maids, while Windsor will not want their lacklustre campaign to be highlighted at Braywick.
Don't get me wrong, I am not hoping for a bunfight, quite the opposite in fact. I’m looking for an attractive, entertaining match full of skill and snapshots of solo brilliance.
I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what occurs; who wants the win more and what they are prepared to do to get it.
Either way I suggest this will be a match worth watching.
I’m going for plenty of points and a Maids victory.
I do understand why the coaches said what they said, and that they want the rugby rather than the occasion to be the highlight.
But I reckon that spectators in particular and players – some more than others – love a good derby where old gripes and grudges are all part of the mix.
In these days of league rugby where clubs travel thousands of miles a season, I would have thought a trip down the Maidenhead Road (or Windsor Road depending on your point of view) would be welcomed.
I know coaches don't really like these matches because there are aspects which they cannot control, and they don't like losing control.
Buy I love derbies, and so I think all those involved on Saturday should embrace it.
Derbies are part of a club's history and their present.
I say, it’s a derby, just take it on the chin, so to speak.
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