09:00AM, Tuesday 12 January 2021
David Mobbs-Smith still hopes Maidenhead RFC will be able to play in a localised cluster league later this year, but accepts this week’s move into lockdown may see those matches delayed or even cancelled.
Maids had been due to play an adaptive form of contact rugby from this month, against teams such as Old Haberdashers, Richmond and Belsize Park. However, the Royal Borough’s move into tier 4 restrictions, and then into a national lockdown, has put paid to those hopes for the next month or so.
The head coach is hopeful a workable solution to the coronavirus pandemic will be found by the summer, enabling leagues to get back to normal from August onwards.
If that’s not the case, he fears things may never go back to normal.
“At the moment it’s difficult to talk about the subject and not be political,” he said.
“I’m a rugby coach, not a politician or a scientist, but I’m just disappointed we’re not able to do what we do.
“We were one day away from playing. We were due to play on the Saturday and tier 4 restrictions were brought in on the Friday. We were one day away.
“I can’t see us doing anything else until February, and that will depend on how well things have gone with the vaccinations.
“We may still play these matches (cluster league games), but now we’re likely to start them in March and we might only play five of them instead of 10. I’m hoping I don’t have to write off rugby until the pre-season games in late August, there’s still a chance we could play in March and April, and then there could be Sevens matches in the summer.
“But my fear is that if we’re not going back to playing normal sports again by June or August then we’re never going back.
“Most people will have been vaccinated by then, so if we’re not going back to the lives we once had by then, we’re never going back. If there’s not a workable solution by then, with the vaccinations, then whatever this is, it’s never going away.
“At some point there must come a tipping point, and if it doesn’t come this summer, it’s never going to come.”
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