06:50PM, Saturday 18 September 2021
Maidenhead RFC are still searching for their first win of the London & SE Premier season having lost 20-43 to Dorking at Braywick Park on Saturday afternoon.
It hasn’t been a pleasant start to the new campaign for David Mobbs-Smith and his men with the side now sitting second from bottom with a -48 points difference, the worst in the league.
Against Dorking, Maids were feeling all measures of pressure and only a last-minute try from Will Macaulay ensured they moved off the zero-point threshold in the table.
After the match, director of rugby Myke Parrott reflected on his side’s performance and addressed their start to life in the new division.
“Firstly, congratulations to Dorking, I thought they were excellent,” he said.
“I thought their back three were particularly potent, and their full backs have played a decent level before.
“They played the 50-22 rule pretty well. However, at times, I think we were a bit tactically naïve. By the time we really got into the game, we were three or four tries down.
“But of course, there are positives. We’ve got a great group of young lads here who gave as much as they could today.
“We’ve not become a bad side overnight. We’ve come into a new league, where it is very different tactically, and we haven’t adapted as quickly as we would like.
“But I will always back these boys. Write us off at your peril because it’s a long season and when we get it right, and we will at some point, we’re going to put on some decent scores here.
“I’m absolutely certain.”
Six tries, three in each half, were enough for Dorking to see off their hosts who, unexpectedly, took the ascendancy inside five minutes. Ed Keohane put the early points on the board for Maids with a penalty kick when referee Alex Rose noticed an infringement.
The advantage, however, lasted a little over 10 minutes as a superb move in the middle of the park orchestrated by James Riley and Matt Hodgson concluded with the latter driving the ball over the line.
The no.10 was able to slot away the conversion to hand Dorking a 3-7 lead in the 16th minute.
Charlie Fethney bundled over a second try under the sticks 10 minutes later having received the ball in a good position. And a chip and chase from Andre Dunn awarded the visitors with their third of the first half moments later, the score 3-19.
With over half an hour played, Maids were making mistakes, struggling to get a grip on the ball, and penetrate Dorking’s 22. As a result, in the 36th minute, Hodgson secured three more points for the visitors just yards from the home side’s goalposts.
Play was paused, and momentum suppressed, on the stroke of half-time due to a scuffle between Dave Cole and Frank Scott who were consequently shown yellows and sinbinned. Fortunately however, a deft lob sent to the right side of the pitch was intercepted by Conor Graney and driven over the line for Maids’ first try, upon the restart.
Much to the supporters' frustration, Keohane missed the subsequent conversion and the first half concluded 8-22.
Perry Jansen went over for the home side’s second try swiftly after the interval, but Maids yet again failed to secure the extra two points. In the blink of an eye, Dorking touched down another five points, thanks to a catch and drive by Callum Anthony, and two from the conversion.
A rolling maul awarded Dorking with another try on the right side of the field, with Hodgson, yet again, displaying his dead ball prowess for an extra two points.
Dave Cole hobbled off the pitch with injury next, and without his presence in midfield, the visitors grabbed themselves their final try in the 62nd minute.
As the match moved into it’s final 10 minutes, Dorking were still relentlessly attack minded. Will Macaulay, however, showed some impressive resilience to weave through the field and ultimately secure Maids a bonus point.
It was too little too late, but Conor Graney did manage to kick away the conversion.
“I think we need to have a sit down and ask ourselves some questions,” added Parrott.
“Are we taking on direction from the coaching team well enough? As a coaching unit, are we explaining ourselves well enough or clearly enough? Are we fit enough? Are we working hard enough in training?
“There are a few things we need to look at but, right now, I am quite emotional. The players are emotional too – we hate losing.
“We need to sleep on this result, try take the heat out of it a bit. We’ll take a step back and find out what we need to differently, and what we need to do better.”
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