I do like the way the coaching staff continue to try out various players and combinations of players to ensure that by the time Wharfedale visit us in just three weeks time for the opening league game of the season, they’ll be pretty sure they’ve picked the best 20 to cover all eventualities. That said, I imagine that by the time the Ealing game comes along, there will be a more settled look to the side, given it’s the last game prior to the opening of the league season.
Against Cardiff RFC on Saturday, the third game in the series of five friendlies prior to the the Wharfedale game, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Adam Canning at full back and Ryan Hough on the wing, both seem to have pace to burn. It’s a welcome return, too, for Cliffie following his injury in the opening 5 minutes of the Broadstreet game a couple of weeks ago; I have to say at the time it looked like it might have been more serious so it’s a real bonus to see him back so quickly. I think Dom is pretty much certain of a starting berth on the 4th, but there’s some real quality on the wings this season, even without Hurrell. And when Dan returns…
MacBurnie and Knox start in the centre but doubtless Tincknell will get a run out, at some stage. Caolan Ryan gets another chance to show what he can do, although with Matt Jones clearly first choice at the moment, perhaps it’s between him and Canning to make the most of the remaining games to get the nod as the ‘utility’ back, able to cover either 10 or 15 when needed. With Evans elsewhere, scrum half duties are shared between Harrison Lee-Everton (who describes himself on Twitter as ‘Calvin Klein underwear model and play (sic) a bit of footy’) and Andy Murray. A couple of seasons ago Andy played a few games for us but mostly on the wing as I recall, although I think he came initially as a scrum half. He’s another genuine speedster and it will be interesting to see if his spell away from Cov with Broadstreet has allowed his game to develop. He always seemed to give his all whenever I watched him. And I refuse to serve up any Andy Murray puns…oh, damn.
The front row of Brown, Hope and Thorne seem settled up front, but there are lots of other options tomorrow and with Matty P and Adam Parkins, Joe Foreman and Terry Sigley all available, there’s real strength in depth; competition of this sort is fantastic and I can’t imagine they’ll be any better front rows in our league. Pooley is partnered by Ben Thomas, but with Courtney Roberts and Martin Wolfsenden (albeit injured at the moment), again there’s, provided they remain injury free…second row is a position that seems particularly prone to injury over the last couple of seasons..
In the back row, the real place that is up for grabs for me is No 8. With no news of Jacques Le Roux’s injury or possible return, Loti Molitika, although playing 6/7 last season, is an exciting player and seems to cover every blade of grass on the pitch and would get my vote, although Liam Munroe amongst others might want to prove a point or two before Wharfedale, Danny Wright will be in with a shout of a starting place in the back row against too. He impressed in the few games he played there at the end of last season and clearly prefers this to being in the second row.
It should be really enjoyable down at the Arms Park on Saturday. Lunchtime kick offs aren’t to everyone’s taste, but the sevens afterwards ensures that the a full day’s entertainment will be had by all.
Just as a footnote, I see Dave Roach is once again inviting participants to get involved in the excellent prediction league on the message board. It’s great fun and always creates interest amongst the Coventry faithful (I’m out to beat CovMick this season). I’ll be taking part again, but I know I’ll never win because I could never predict a Cov loss (I just couldn’t do it) and given my eternal optimism, Coventry are always going to win by 30+ points no matter who the opposition is or where they are playing.
That said, given the positive soundbites coming from the BPA so far this season, perhaps that’s the winning strategy…