08:30PM, Wednesday 15 January 2020
Tries from Scott Prince, George Blewitt and Dave Cole handed Maidenhead a narrow but significant advantage heading into the closing stages of Saturday’s game at Ivybridge, but the concession of a late penalty saw them draw a game they’ll feel they should have won.
Maids led this match from the opening moments, and held a crucial 25-22 advantage when Will Runciman kicked a late penalty but, just as they did at Exeter University before Christmas, they ended up drawing a game they could easily have won.
Head coach David Mobbs-Smith admitted his side were never able to get away from Ivybridge on the scoreboard and he admits his main emotion was one of disappointment when they were reeled by a late penalty at the death. He admitted the result was probably a fair one, between two evenly matched teams, but this was a draw that felt more like a defeat for the visitors.
“We’re a little bit disappointed because we lost our lead so close to the end,” he said. “Having led for pretty much the whole game. We scored from the very first play and led from the start but just never got rid of them on the scoreboard.
“We’re quite similar in terms of style and were able to hurt each other from deep. We had periods in the first half that we dominated but they were able to claw their way back into the game. They had their moments, we had our moments. Probably in the end there was little to separate us in the first game at Braywick and likewise it was the same this time.
“We’re two of the top scoring teams in the league so it was always going to be that sort of a game.
“But, between the two points we picked up there and the two we got at Exeter, it sort of squeezes a win out of two games. It’s like we’ve won one of those games anyway.”
Maids return to home comforts on Saturday, when Launceston visit Braywick Park, but Mobbs-Smith says the hosts will be in for a big surprise if they expect it will be anything other than a tough afternoon.
Maidenhead narrowly beat Launceston in an entertaining 43-42 away win earlier in the season, but they arrive in Berkshire a different beast to the side Maids scraped past a few months ago. They come into the game having beaten Ivybridge 20-16 a couple of weeks ago and the head coach says their current form belies their 10th placed position in the South West Premier.
“We’ll have many of the same problems in Saturday’s game,” said Mobbs-Smith. “They’re a side that can attack lots and their league position belies what they’re capable of doing. They’ve lost just once in their last five games and there was nothing between us in the last game.
“This weekend will be very, very tough. We’re not going to find that easy at all.
“We have a very good record at home and there’s no reason to suggest that will be any different on Saturday, but we’ll have to play very well to beat them. Their league position is very untrue to their current form. Their recent form, one loss in five games, is top four form. That’s the form they’re displaying right now. It’s a very tough fixture, and we’re two sides that can attack and hurt teams. But hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
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