Long Island set for rough ride, says Maynard
Quadir Maynard insists Bermuda Under-20s can prevent Long Island Rough Riders from completing a clean sweep of victories when the two teams renew hostilities tomorrow.
The visitors from New Jersey will be determined to make it a trio of wins having already beaten the Under-20s and Dandy Town over the festive period.
But Maynard is confident the Under-20s can stop the rot by defeating Rough Riders, particularly as several key players are returning from their Christmas vacations to bolster Gary Darrell's side.
The blustery winds billowing off St.George's Harbour prevented either team from playing free-flowing football at Wellington Oval on Monday, but Maynard believes it will be a different story when they take on Rough Riders at Somerset Cricket Club on New Year's Day.
“I think we should be able to beat them at Somerset. It's not a good pitch but it's not as windy as in St.George's so we should be able to settle down and play,” said the Boulevard player.
“It was kind of hard playing in those conditions at St. George's as it gets really windy up there. If we could play Rough Riders on a better pitch, like BAA Field, I think we can possibly beat them. Plus, we're going to be stronger than last time with the likes of Troy (Tucker) and Rakeem (DeShields) back. It's just too bad that Reggie (Lambe) can't play.”
Bermuda Under-20s are using this week's friendly matches against Rough Riders as preparation for their upcoming World Cup preliminary qualifiers in Suriname where they will play the hosts, Guyana and Netherland Antilles.
In order to reach the 12-team Concacaf Championships in April, the Under-20s must top the group which Maynard believes they are capable of doing.
“I'm looking forward to the qualifiers and I think we can make it to the next round that would be a great achievement,” he said. “It's not going to be easy because Suriname will have home advantage and that can count for a lot.”
Earlier this year Maynard moved to the UK to play for Conference South side Bromley FC and is looking to follow in the footsteps of Reggie Lambe (Ipswich Town) and Nahki Wells (Carlisle United) by earning a professional contract at an English club.
Adapting to the muck and nettles of non-league football as not been a seamless transition for Maynard but he reckons he is beginning to get to grips with the rigours and physicality of the English game.
“The move to England has been good for me. The climate is very cold, the football is different and I find every game challenging,” said the Bromley reserve.
“I think I'm getting better than when I was playing in Bermuda because I'm playing against much better opponents. I feel quicker and stronger.”
English Championship club Crystal Palace are monitoring the progress of Maynard after he played in a trial match for their youth team against Millwall recently. He is scheduled to return to Selhurst Park for another tryout after the Under-20 qualifiers.
“I'm trying to get a professional contract, I don't care who with. I look up to Nahki Wells and Reggie Lambe who are in my age category and both give me inspiration,” said Maynard.
“When I return from the qualifiers I'm supposed to be going back to Palace for more trials. I also had trials at Charlton too but they said I needed more experience.”
There is also an educational component to Maynard's UK move with the Bermuda Hogges player having to take his BTEC qualifications at Kelsey Park Sports College who are in partnership with Bromley FC.
Bermuda Under-20 take on Rough Riders tomorrow at Somerset Cricket Club. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.