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Maidenhead RFC players told to play for their shirt or someone else will

Russell Bolton laid down the law to his under-performing players at half-time on Saturday to rouse them out of their slumbers against Ivybridge – and it worked, Maidenhead going on to find some form and win by six points.

Using the success the club’s 2nd XV were having on the adjacent pitch to drill home his point, Maids’ head coach went for the jugular.

“I told them there were 18 players putting a scoreline on Windsor on the other pitch and that they would love to have their shirts,” he said after witnessing an uncharacteristically flat first 40 minutes from his side.

“And if they wanted to be in their shirts for the next game they would have to buck their ideas up. That was one thing we talked about.

“We also talked to a couple of players, like Dave Cole, who we don’t want to see pass the ball.

“Why would we when he’s making 20 or 30 metres? When he did that we became really effective.

“Tom King was the same. He started to look after the ball and suddenly we started to make inroads.”

Bolton added: “There were a couple of little messages like that, no panicking, no bollocking, but just realisms and truths saying ‘we’re better than this, we’re at home and we have a record to preserve’.”

It had the desired effect as Maids put their clumsy performance behind them to turn around a 20-7 deficit to deservedly win 26-20 and extend their winning run at Braywick in the league to 25 games.

“I thanked the guys at the end for showing a bit of a response,” said Bolton. “It’s hard to have energy all the time and it’s then that we look for big characters to raise that.

“Maybe we just didn’t have the players in the squad to do that.

“Sometimes we feed off the crowd and they were a bit down, although maybe that’s because of the way we were playing.

“It was not ideal, but we have to perform when we are a bit flat, we can’t use that as an excuse.

“Importantly it doesn’t matter how we feel, the ability is still there.”

The victory has propelled newly-promoted Maids up to fourth in the South West Premier.

Maids, who do not play this week- end, are next in action on Saturday, October 21 away to bottom-placed Hornets who are based near Weston-super-Mare.

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