09:00AM, Thursday 31 March 2022
Photo; Paul Morgan Photography
They might have always looked in control on the scoreboard, but Maidenhead's director of rugby, Myke Parrott, felt that was far from the case in Saturday's 39-12 win over Braywick Park.
Maids eased to victory in glorious spring conditions, recording their seventh win in 12 attempts to cement their status as one of the London & South East Premier Division's most in-form sides.
However, while Brighton were always kept at arm’s length on the scoreboard and never really looked like reeling their hosts back in, they were a formidable outfit who pressed to the very last and ensured Maids could never truly switch off.
The win lifts Maids to ninth in the table, level with eighth-placed Sidcup who they'll be hoping to overhaul in their remaining three games.
Reflecting on another impressive win, Parrott said: “We were always pretty much in control and that was certainly the case on the scoreboard for most of the game.
“But Brighton were competitive throughout and had the lion’s share of possession. The win was testament to our excellent defence to be honest.
“The 39-12 final score suggested we won comfortably, but they made us work very hard.
“I was impressed with them in parts. I thought they had a very good seven and eight and they killed us at the breakdown sometimes. They moved the ball very nicely and they tested us, it was a good game. They played well, we played well, our set piece worked well, it was good all round.”
Brighton came into the game with confidence renewed following their last-gasp victory over Tring, but Maids were equal to everything that was thrown at them and responded with some excellent offensive play of their own, both in the forward pack and across the backline.
“They had some very good individuals, and we knew they had some big weapons,” said Parrott. “At their place they dominated us at the set piece, both scrum time and from catch and drives. But I was pleased with our young pack because I felt we were on top there and had the dominant scrum.
“Our catch and drive was very effective in the first half and we blunted some of their weapons there.”
It may not have always been the case, but all of Maids players are now more adept at handling the rugby ball in tight, pressurised situations, and they also look comfortable playing David Mobbs-Smith's high-tempo, expansive style of play.
“Saturday did show how much more variety we have in our game now,” added Parrott. “Mobbsy’s ethos and style is that he wants 15 ball players, and he wants everyone to be able to handle the ball and I think we’re showing that now.
“Elio Mandozzi and Ed Atkins scored for the forwards, but it was a 4/2 split with four tries coming from the backs and some of them were excellent.
“Chris Elder scored a couple of beauties; Scott Prince came back from injury, and he was carving them up. Ed Keohane had another great game at 10. Young Harry Wells, in his first start at 13, also did really well as well.
“It shows that we’ve come a long way as a team and that we were right to blood some of these youngsters who are getting better every week.
“Oli Garratty was excellent at six, Elio had a good game at loose head and Scott Prince in his first game for six weeks beat about five guys to put Chris Elder away to score, it was a beautiful try. These guys are getting better and better.”
Parrott added: It’s a more enjoyable way of playing and we don’t have a massive pack like we used to. If you think back to when we had me, the Darlo boys, Sam Churchyard, Dave Cole, Andy Berry, it has changed a lot. One young lad is Phil Wells, he’s marshalled our lineout superbly and he’s getting better every week. We’re fit now and we’re getting around the pitch much better. In the last 20 minutes we didn’t have the ball and they barely made any yards, it was tackle after tackle.”
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