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Matt's Blog V2

The second edition of Matt Maraki's Blog. A Kiwi in Cobham...

Matt's Blog

2nd Edition - September 2007

Well where do I start, it's been almost 4 months and the time has just flown by, it feels as though I'm as much a part of the furniture now as anyone else. Keeping busy is definitely the key to staying motivated, between the rugby, working and obviously the socialising, I haven't had a chance to sit down and think of anything other than my new life over here in the UK.

This week will be my third competition game with the first side, a team that has so far shown the ability to take on most if not all New Zealand premiere club sides and be successful, I have been impressed from the outset with the standard at which this team performs both during the week and on saturdays, everyone keeps asking about the 'standard' of rugby over here and I don't know what to say really apart from the fact the physicality might not be as high I'd be hard pressed to say that it this level its any lower than New Zealand club rugby, obviously there will be mixed reaction to that comment but that's purely from my experience.

So what have I done other than rugby?? Well that's in interesting question, I still haven't managed to get a round of golf in yet (my second love) and with the way the weather is going I might be along time until I do. Im still employed by Walton Road Garage driving the van which gets me out and about to see the countryside and I have just this week arrived back from four days in Scotland, where I got the pleasure of catching the All Blacks vs. Scotland at Murrayfield (thanks again franks) and also catch up with a soon to be new member of Cobham, my cousin who was playing in Scotland and is as I write on his way down, and hopefully getting ready for his first taste of Cobham rugby tomorrow with the second side.

Sundays are now taken up with coaching the Cobham U16s, which I am really enjoying; so far we have played one won one and now preparing for our second game in the weekend (go hard boys!!) also to add to my coaching bow I am coaching the Esher College 1st 15 and the Hinchly Wood School Yr7s which turned out to be a little bit of a challenge, I've never been called Sir before lol.

I've probably left a lot of things out and Im sorry but most of what has been going on is just life as usual now what can I say "Im just living the dream"

Till next time



My First Blog - July 2007

Kiwi comes to Cobham

As I said good bye to my parents (trying to hide any emotion) and boarded the plane, it suddenly struck me, what have I got myself into? Here I sit in a small plane, by myself, at the top of the North Island of New Zealand, starting what is to be a 24 hour journey to the UK where I'm said to be getting picked up at Heathrow airport by someone I don't know and going to some place I have never heard of, at this point to say I was nervous would be an understatement, but I tell you now, what an enjoyable ride it has been so far.


Kia ora, my name is Mathew Maraki (or Matt as I'm known to friends), for those of you who I have not had the pleasure of meeting, I come from a small rural town called Kaikohe in Northland New Zealand and I am here in the UK with the purpose of playing rugby for Cobham, and hopefully getting to experience what the UK and Europe has to offer well I'm here.


From Kerikeri, where I said goodbye to my parents, I had a short flight to Auckland at which point I said goodbye to my sister and my niece, from then on it was no turning back and I had a 24 hour flight to Heathrow via LA to look forward too.


After 24 hours and moderate jet lag I arrived in the UK, where I'm collected by Tony Balkwill, it is at this point I start to relax (not that I have much choice in the matter), Tony greets me with a smile and a hand shake and before I know it I'm in a car whipping through London on the way to what will be life for the next two years.


We arrive at Walton Road Garage, which Tony owns with two of his brothers and will be my source of employment, or at least until he gets sick of me, I meet some of the team and forget all the names I'm told and it is also at this point Tony informs I start work the next day (I can't wait, he thinks with a hint of sarcasm).  From there it was off to meet my flat mate Gareth Palmer, who himself had only just arrived back into the country. After a short meet and greet Gareth is off, and it's sleep time for me, I can't wait!


I've been in the UK just over two weeks now and I must say I could not have had a warmer welcome, all the people I have had the pleasure of meeting have been awesome (some common kiwi slang) with a capital A.  All the Cobham boys have been amazing and have made my transition relatively painless.  I've had to adjust to a few things, the money obviously, the length to the days, without a lie, for those of you reading at home, the days are so long the sun rises at about 4am and sets at about 10pm I'm still trying to get my head around it, I wake up in a panic every morning thinking I'm late for work because the sun is out and it is actually about 5am, there is people and traffic everywhere and if I want to park anywhere close to my house I need to be home early, but other than that its all much the same.


So what have I done since I've been here? I hear you ask. Well, other than experiencing the local night life, the day after I arrived I get given a van and a GPS satellite navigation unit and a couple of scooters, a quick run down on basic British road rules and I was off delivering, straight into the deep end, just how I like it! Yes that's right, no time to be home sick here, it's been all go since I've arrived and I'm loving every minute, I've been to Jamiroquai’s manor (or Jay Kay as he's known) delivering scooters and I've had photos with Jonathan Ross. No, I'm not famous, I once again had a delivery and he just happened to have a photographer there and for some reason I happen to be in a couple of photos (so I'm told).  I've been through London on numerous occasions and also driven to Bristol on the other side of the country, which made me late for our first pre-season training (sorry boys)


It was with great pleasure that I attended the black tie (yes mum that's right) Cobham Summer Ball at the Sandown Racecourse, (sorry no photos) at which point I experienced what Cobham rugby club has to offer and if that is the beginning I can't wait for the rest of the season.  I met some great people and had an amazing time, I also run into a couple of Kiwis who live here in Cobham and if I can remember I have been invited to breakfast on Saturday to watch the All Blacks, go Black!!


As I said before pre-season training has started, it's not what I'm accustomed to at home, actually I prefer it, we're not just constantly sprinting, it's high intensity with a lot of variation and it's fun (hopefully I can say that), and for what it's worth for the short time I've been involved I can see I'm going to enjoy playing with Billy and the boys!! As far as the level or standard goes at this stage I'll be comparing apples to oranges and it will not be until the first couple of games I will be able to comment on that, but at the end of the day rugby is rugby hopefully I can learn and contribute.


Well that's me so far here in the UK, as I type it’s almost five o'clock on a Friday afternoon and I'm looking forward to another taste of the local night life.


Thank you to all those who have made my time here so far so enjoyable, I can't begin to show my appreciation to you and what it means to this  country boy from rural New Zealand. If you’re reading at home, mum and dad I miss you hope all is well and from what you can read from above life is good here!


Ka kite