LIFE at Coventry is proving much more productive second time round for Will Maisey, who has been an ever-present since returning to the club in the close season.
The talented fly-half, who celebrates his 24th birthday on Sunday, made his Cov debut as a 19-year-old midway through the 2011-12 campaign and went on to make 25 more appearances over the next two seasons without ever establishing himself as a first-choice.
A move to Nottingham, and immediate Championship rugby, followed for Maisey before a season at National League One newcomers Ampthill led to his return to Butts Park where he has found things very different.
“It wasn’t something I ever thought was going to happen, but after speaking to Rowland Winter I felt it was the right thing to do and when the opportunity came, I took it with both hands,” he said.
“There’s so much ambition in the club now and it’s definitely something I was happy to come back to.
“When I was first here I felt that my face didn’t really fit. I felt I had a few good games in my final season, but I was dropped without any real reason and then I found it hard to get my way back into the side. I felt I deserved a chance, but I was out of favour.
“I still enjoyed my time here, but nowhere near as much as I’m enjoying it now.
“I’ve been lucky since coming back that the coaches have invested quite a lot of time in me, in an out of training, and I feel like they’re really helping me to become a better player.
“It’s a completely different place now, training three nights a week and some of the boys being full time – everything feels more professional with more coaches, the analysis is better, and the sessions are more intense.
“I think I’ve improved a lot since I was first at Coventry and I feel like I’m still improving – there is still more to come from me.”
In between his two spells at Cov, Leamington-born Maisey gained plenty experience from 20 appearances at Nottingham and 28 games for Ampthill.
“I’d just finished my degree at Nottingham Trent and one of the performance coaches at Nottingham, who was our head coach at university, said to come along and do some pre-season with them and see how I got on.
“I did really well and was picked for the first game of the season, and they decided that they wanted to sign me.
“I really enjoyed the full-time environment there, I think I learnt a lot from it and it brought me on massively as a player.
“Ampthill was a strange one for me because I seemed to play mostly on the wing or at 13 which I didn’t feel I was very good at, especially on the wing – I’ve not got the pace of a Dan Rundle and I did struggle with where I needed to be and what to do to get the ball. It felt odd and it just wasn’t me.
“I only played a handful of games at 10 and I didn’t feel that I was able to show what I could do, so it was something I realised I needed to get out of otherwise I was going to end up fading away from my favourite position.
“To be fair to Ampthill, they had a game plan they stuck to and it worked well for them. I don’t think my skill set was what they wanted – I’m more of a distributor, which I don’t think the current 10 they have can do as well.
“The set-up is not as professional as at Coventry, they do a bit of analysis but the majority of that is led by the coaches whereas here it’s player-led and we give our feedback to the coaches which I think has more benefit.”
Added Maisey: “I’m glad to have got as many playing minutes as I have so far this season and I know there is still a lot more to come from me.
“I feel I’m performing more consistently, and I understand what I need to do in my personal performance to achieve that consistency week in and week out.
“It’s early days for the squad, but we know ourselves that our away performances haven’t been good enough and that’s something we are working at to put right. The way the club is going, it will turn around.
“We are showing patches of what we can do and I believe it will all click at some point. It’s just a case of improving our consistency, and I think that will happen soon.”
The target now for Maisey, who works full-time as a marketing assistant for a company based at Coventry University, is a return to the Championship.
“Personally, I loved my time in the Championship, that’s where I want to be, and if I can do that with Coventry it would be the perfect scenario.
“It’s the first senior club I was at, I’ve lived most of my life in Coventry, so to do it with them would be the ultimate.”