09:00AM, Monday 18 April 2022
Paul Morgan Photography
Maidenhead will travel to North Walsham on the final day of the season a vastly improved outfit from the one which kicked off the London & South East Premier Division campaign against Walsham back in September.
Maids came into this campaign unprepared for the physicality and pace of the league, however, they've learned from every encounter and visit Walsham as one of the division's form sides.
On Saturday last week, they were edged out 22-15 in a tight encounter with leaders Sevenoaks at Braywick Park - a game which might very easily have swung their way had they managed to take one or two of their late chances.
But, Walsham are another side in form, having thumped Tring 52-33 away on Saturday, so the clash promises to be an intriguing one.
Walsham were fortunate to leave Braywick Park with a 24-21 victory over Maids on the opening day of the season, having been gifted a couple of tries by Maids’ handling errors, however, they've lost just five times all season - a marker of just how tough it will be for the visitors to go there and turn them over.
“Each individual game is different,” said Mobbs-Smith. “It's partly about styles in rugby.
“We now have a very similar challenge to the Sevenoaks game when we visit North Walsham in two weeks’ time.
“They are another very good side in our league and it will be a measure of where we are and what we've done.
“It’s a game on the road against a team that, as far as I can see, still has a chance of being promoted. They won’t be hanging around and I’d expect them to have a big bumper crowd. It’ll be a real test; it’s not going to be an easy game.”
Maids limited free-scoring Sevenoaks to just three tries on Saturday, having lost 43-0 to them in their away encounter earlier in the season.
Their defence is unrecognisable from the side which was torn apart in the early weeks of the season, but they'll need it to be on point once again in Norfolk on Saturday week (April 23).
“We scored two tries and they only managed three, so it was very tight, much tighter than it looks on the scoreboard,” said Mobbs-Smith.
“They didn’t even get their four tries to get a bonus point. If they don’t win their last game, they might not win the league. They are playing Hertford, who are one of the division’s in-form sides, they beat Sutton 83-0 at the weekend.
“We picked up a bonus point and Sidcup are two points behind us. They must win to catch us, but, if you look at where we were before Christmas, in 13th, and we're now eighth, we've climbed all that way.
“They (Sevenoaks) walked off the field relieved. We’d just missed a scoring opportunity ourselves; it was that tight, and we also missed a penalty as well. That’s rugby.”
He added: “We played Walsham at the start, and they pipped us.
“They've finished the season strongly and two weeks ago they beat Dorking and that's given them the chance to get promoted.
“The last time they lost was against Sevenoaks on March 5, so that shows you how good they've been,
“We’ve put in a performance this week that says we should be able to compete against them.
“Can we repeat that performance? If we do it will put us in the game and give us a chance, and then one-off things can affect the result.”
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