Tue. Apr 13th, 2021
Rob Knox returns after injury to face Wharfedale
Rob Knox makes a welcome return  after injury to face Wharfedale

…here Cov come!

And with the announcement of the Coventry side to face Wharfedale tomorrow, Scott Morgan and the rest of the coaching staff will be hoping that there will be no hiding place for the visitors from Yorkshire.

A strong side sees Morgan place his trust in many of last year’s squad, with only 4 of the team being summer acquisitions. Congratulations to James Tincknell, Ryan Hough, Courtney Roberts and Tom Preece who are making their league debuts for Cov. All five of the replacements will also be debutants should they get onto the pitch, as would seem likely. It seems to be pretty much a full strength side, with only Weightman, Thomas and Canning absent through injury (discounting the longer term injuries to Le Roux and Wolfsenden. neither of whom has had any game time so far this season).

The backs just about pick themselves, with the only real choice being between MacBurnie or Tincknell. Tincknell has made more of an impression in the friendlies and looks to be able to open up defences more effectively than Callum and appears to have a little more pace…however, MacBurnie will be back, of that I’m sure. He is a popular player amongst supporters and is probably a victim of teams only being allowed 5 replacements in National One. Cliffie’s absence from the team  was always going to be on the cards once Wayne Evans was announced as captain and so it comes as no real surprise. He is another very popular player and one who will still have a very important role to play over the coming months – I don’t think many would bet against his boot being the deciding factor on one or more occasions later in the year. Hamilton’s experience at the very highest level means that he should be out on the pitch whilst he is fit and able to make an impact on the game; age isn’t on his side and I imagine he won’t be expecting to play every game giving his coaching role too.

In the front row, it must have been a tough call between Chad Thorne and Adam Parkins. There would be no real concerns about either for me; Chad perhaps being a bit more injury prone might be slightly more of a risk. Thorne is another unlucky not to be on the bench, but Scott Morgan has consistently commented on the impact Terry Sigley would have as a replacement, so once he wasn’t picked to start he was never going to be selected.

At hooker, I would have gone for Devlin Hope. I’m a huge Hope fan and although there are question marks about his ability to pick the jumper at the lineout, the same is true of Matt (who is something of a legend, too!). I just think that Hope gets around the pitch a little more than Pricey and is more effective with ball in hand. He is also less likely to annoy the referee – with an average of 7 points being scored against a team down to 14 men during the period of a yellow card, Matt has to learn to control himself a little more at times. Discipline could yet be our undoing.

The second row pick itself with the injury to Thomas, as does the back row, with the exception of Tom Preece. To be fair, he’s played himself into contention particularly in the last couple of games and deserves the chance, but I have always liked the way Malitika approaches a game, both in defence and attack and I hope we will see him again. He and Danny Wright are a little down the pecking order at the moment, with the very promising Alex Woodburn rightly on the bench.

Everyone has their own thoughts on selection; that’s the beauty of any team game. Fans will always disagree. I have faith in Scott and his team to make the right selections…far more so than I do in myself, anyway…but that doesn’t stop me from pontificating!

Saturday at the Butts is the place to be…and if you can’t be there, then as usual live updates will appear via the Twitter feed  on the homepage of this blog.

Come on Cov!

By Tim

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