08:00AM, Saturday 04 April 2020
With a heavy heart, Maidenhead RFC skipper Myke Parrott has announced this week he will be stepping down as a player from next season.
He admits the decision has been a tough one, but his body just won’t allow him to continue taking the punishment on a week-to-week basis anymore.
Parrott has spent 14 years at Braywick Park, working his way through to the first team and then guiding the club to its highest ever run of finishes in the South West Premier.
He also made his 200th club appearance in a thrilling win over Exeter University this season and proudly claims to be the only Maids player to rack up 100 consecutive appearances.
A knee injury has forced his hand on this decision, and the prospect of there being relatively little rugby played next season because of the coronavirus means it feels like the right time for him to finally say ‘over and out’.
“It feels awful,” Parrott said this week. “I woke up this morning and wondered ‘can I change my mind?’.
“It comes to us all doesn’t it, but I’m not looking forward to that first Saturday when I’m not out there.
“I’d like to pass on my sincere thanks for all the messages, calls and emails I’ve had.
“It’s been quite overwhelming and this place has a special place in my heart.”
He made the decision just over a month ago following Maidenhead’s defeat to Okehampton at Braywick Park, and afterwards called up head coach David Mobbs-Smith to tell him he felt ‘spent’.
Parrott revealed his decision on Twitter earlier this week after the RFU brought all rugby in England – barring the Gallagher Premiership – to a premature end.
He said: “I took the decision with a heavy heart. But I’ve been struggling with my left knee for the last 10 years.
“Often after matches and training I’m not able to sleep because it just throbs, and it got to the point where I felt it was affecting my performances.
“After the Okehampton game I emailed the coaches and said ‘I think I’m spent here’.
“And with the coronavirus everything has been thrown into doubt. I don’t know when I’ll be able to have a scan on my knee, let alone an operation, so I thought it was best to announce my retirement.
“One of the things that’s helped me make my decision is the emergence of young Elio Mandozzi, who I think is a superstar in the making. He’s just fantastic and the number one jersey is in good hands with him. If I can stick around and help his progress I will.”
Parrott’s association with Maids won’t end here though, and he’s laughed off questions from friends and teammates that he might in future turn out for another club. That, he says, is out of the question. He’s a ‘one club man’ and he’ll be doing his best to continue leading Maidenhead forward off the field.
Club chairman Stephen Bough praised Parrott’s contribution this week, saying you can’t do justice to the service he’s given to the club. The exact nature of his role for the club moving forward is still being worked through, but Parrot claims the club has an excellent coaching staff that doesn’t need to be tinkered with.
However, he believes he can still inspire the players to improve their performances and will be doing all he can to drive Maids forward off the field.
“Maidenhead is my one and only club and I’m proud to be a one club man,” added Parrott.
“I think there is going to be an announcement on my new role next week but I can’t say too much now.
“They’ve made it clear they want me to be involved, which is awesome, and I do feel I’ve got things I can contribute at the top echelons of the club. I’ve got some strong ideas on how I could drive the club forward.”
“The role is still being formalised but as far as coaching is concerned, that’s not for me. We’ve got an awesome coaching set-up and they definitely don’t need me in there shall we say. But I do want the players to realise the importance of playing for such a special club, making them realise the Maids’ DNA. I’ve got so much love for the boys and if I can make it a more enjoyable environment for them then that’s what I’ll do.”
As a sideline Parrott has also successfully applied for his RFU player agent licence, and plans to run the new agency, called Braywick Talent, with his Maidenhead front row teammate Mark Darlington.
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