05:16PM, Monday 06 June 2016
(First published in the Maidenhead Advertiser on Thursday, May 5)
As promised last week, I’ve had a look into my oval-shaped crystal ball to see what might befall Maidenhead Rugby Club next season.
Off the back of the current encouraging campaign, which saw them finish fifth in South West 1 East, and with a growing, strengthening squad, it seems the omens are good, or are they?
Here’s what I hope will happen.
Maids will continue to attract players of all shapes and sizes during the summer so that, come the start of the season, they'll have enough 1st team standard players in the squad to provide cover for all positions.
In particular a few hefty specimens to bolster the forwards and show their worth and experience when playing on the swampier grounds in mid-winter.
Those key, pivotal players from this season, like scrum-half Mark Childerhouse, fly-half Perry Jansen and skipper and prop Myke Parrott, will continue to improve their decision-making and shine under the added responsibility.
That more young players make the difficult journey from junior through colts to senior rugby, and that they form important parts of increasingly strong 2nd and 3rd teams, propping up a vibrant 1st team.
Here’s what I expect will happen.
Maids will continue to improve and genuinely be a promotion-chasing team, but they will be one of maybe half a dozen who all believe they could finish in the top two – especially those relegated from the nationals.
Maids will broaden the base of their squad, but will still lack some power and grunt up front when playing away from Braywick.
They will lose one or two first choice players who are tempted away to other clubs with the lure of a higher standard of rugby and a few quid in the pocket.
Maids will again finish fifth and be split internally between those who are satisfied and those who expected more.
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in yesterday's referendum - and while the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead fell into the remain camp, Slough voted to support a Brexit.