03:00PM, Thursday 27 January 2022
On paper at least Tunbridge Wells and Maidenhead went into Saturday’s clash with a similar record this season, but on the pitch the two sides looked worlds apart as David Mobbs-Smith side blew away their hosts 45-14.
Maids have been threatening to produce a performance like this all season but, for whatever reason they haven’t been able to sustain the momentum.
However, everything clicked at the weekend with the forward pack laying the groundwork for the backline to run their hosts ragged.
Once again - after his hat-trick of tries against Tring - captain Ben Mitchell was at the heart of much of Maids’ penetrating play and he was ably assisted by Christoph Bart, with Alex French also making some immense carries to put Tunbridge on the back foot. But, from 1-15, this was an outstanding display from a Maids side that’s still adapting to life in the London & South East Premier Division and it certainly bodes well for the future.
“The reality is that if they’d have beaten us they’d have gone above us in the league,” said Mobbs-Smith. “It was two pretty equal sides going head-to-head and we were also away from home, so I was very satisfied with the win.
“There were some outstanding performances, the pattens worked, the systems. The areas we intended to attack against them we were able to execute and it’s obviously one of our better days this season.
“This weekend we have a really big test against the new leaders of the league, Hertford, but that will be a good indication of where we’re going.”
For much of last weekend’s game against Tring, Maids struggled with their set-plays, seeing their scrum turned and balls taken against the head in line outs, but those issues were rectified to provide a platform from which to attack Tunbridge on Saturday.
“They did an outstanding job in the set piece, and it just gave us a lot of the ball on the attack,” he said. “It also allowed us to maintain territorial position on the field. Definitely a really good performance by them.
“The lads have put in a lot of work, but we’ve got up to the pace of this league. We’ve worked on the areas where we were vulnerable, which was fitness and keeping the ball at a slightly higher intensity and we’ve adjusted to it.
"We now feel more comfortable because we’re more able to maintain that pace and, if anything, the last two games, we were the side that was doing the most at the end of the game.
“That’s a big transformation from the start of the season when we were in quite a few games but struggled to live with teams in the final minutes and the score would run away from us a little bit.”
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