Scotty – We need Wharf factor 5…
Unless you remember the original series of Star Trek, the title of this post will probably mean very little to you and it’s not one that would benefit from an explanation anyway…however, it does also allude to comments made by Scott Morgan in the CET that Cov has to hit the ground running on Saturday against Wharfedale. Anything more than 2 losses during the course of the season is going to make promotion very difficult in what he describes as ‘the league of death’ (Coventry Evening Telegraph. No pressure there then…
The positive side to this is that the pressure is going to be just as great for all teams chasing promotion and those attending the friendlies against London Welsh and Ealing will have seen that actually Coventry responded very well to sustained pressure from Championship sides – other teams might not respond so well. It’s a message Morgan is clearly happy for other coaches in our division to hear and it will certainly show others teams in the league what our intention is from the start. But if 5 points from the Wharfedale game is important, so is a convincing win – both for players and supporters alike.
And the supporters have such an important part to play…
Fortress BPA – during the 18 match unbeaten run last season the home attendances grew and grew, and the ground rocked. It’s a fantastic feeling being part of a 2000+ crowd cheering on a team pushing for the top spot. Win after win and we were all getting a bit carried away with it all. Yet in reality, Scott Morgan is absolutely right – those two defeats in our opening four games meant that we were always going to be chasing Ealing and Rosslyn Park rather than leading them – we’d left ourselves no real room for error. If we can start with a good run this season, I’m sure it will be different come February and March, given all the experience and skill we have throughout the squad. The players make repeated reference to the impact the Cov crowd can have on a match…the lift they get from the wall of noise that the BPA sometimes generates during a game.
But the problem with walls is they have the propensity to come crashing down.
Scott’s comment about the two defeats plays a little into the hands of the doubters. There will be the pessimists, not many and loyal Cov fans all, who will be in their element come the first defeat…and over 38 games it will come…I can see the messageboard as I type! Gloom and doom; another season of relative obscurity for this great club… etc etc. That’s why it’s so important to get the impetus going from day one and hope our rivals drop a point or three by not scoring a fourth try or, even better, an unexpected loss. Crowds can be fickle at times…win and they’re queuing at the turnstiles, lose and there are rows of empty seats. If the players keep t0 the script, I’m sure the supporters will play their part, too.
It will be fascinating to see what the attendance is on Saturday…I have no idea on the average gate size the club has included as part of its budget forecasts this year, but I’m sure it will have played safe. Good attendances in the run up to Christmas could mean one or two additional signings mid season, bought by the additional income generated over and above the original forecasts, should there be injuries or a further need to improve the squad in a key area; it could make a real difference. We’ve had one or two useful signings during this period in seasons past…Scott Hamilton being just one that springs to mind!
And now we wait for the team to be announced…I am sure there will be some difficult decisions to make, both within the team and on the bench. Indeed, getting the bench right is in many ways just as crucial, ensuring that all positions are covered by the 5 replacements. No easy task. With certain players being more versatile than others, they might well get the nod over those seen as more of a specialist in one position. Whatever team is selected, I’m sure it will be one good enough to kick off the season with a win and 5 points…i
…if not, beam me up, Scotty.
(Congratulations to Sam Smith on being offered a contract with Coventry this season. He certainly looked the part in the pre-season friendlies. Well done, Sam – the fact that you have the same name as my son in no way makes me biased towards you!