I don’t know how many people will remember the old Bert Bacharach song, ‘Three wheels on my waggon…’ about a group of American settlers who are travelling by wagon and horses across native Indian territory when they are attacked by Cherokees. Each verse results in the loss of a further wheel. Despite this, it remains an optimistic song and even when captured, the family are still ‘singing a happy song’.
Well, with two consecutive defeats, I guess a wheel is about to fall off the proverbial waggon, but we are by no means down and out, nor are the native Indians even encircling us, so I’m not sure why there is quite so much gloom and despondency on the messageboard.
Okay, Scott Morgan did, perhaps unwisely in retrospect, make the statement in the local press that:
It’s a ‘league of death’ with only one side going up,” said Morgan. “We’ll get there with two lives, three if we’re really lucky, so we can’t waste any of those this season like we have done in the past.
But given that other teams touted as top three finishers haven’t started quite as strongly as expected, including Rosslyn Park, then all is by no means lost. Two losses but still 26 more games to play. The fat lady isn’t even in sight yet, let alone warming up.
The above report, taken from The Rugby Paper today, actually presents a slightly more encouraging account of the game, although it refers to Dom being yellowed when I think it should be Matt Price. However, it is interesting to see how a more ‘neutral’ observer read the game.
Don’t get me wrong, underachieving as we have in the last two games is a worry but a win on Saturday against Plymouth and things will start to look very different. We have yet to play Rosslyn Park home or away, still our main threat in my opinion, and Ampthill haven’t travelled up north yet nor taken on the likes of ourselves and RP.
One of the great things about the Coventry unofficial messageboard is that people can have their say, express their views, right or wrong. And my view is that it’s far too early to be writing off players, talking of supporters’ apathy, dismissing the efforts of players as absolutely pathetic or suggesting coaches aren’t having any effect. We all feel our disappointment in different ways. Me, I was always the kind of teacher who would build up a kid, rather than knock him (or her) down, and the same applies here. That the team wasn’t good enough on the day is undeniable. That the squad isn’t good enough most definitely is.
Injuries have taken their toll, but as has been stated more than once by Scott Morgan, that mustn’t be used as an excuse. It’s why players were brought in during the close season and there should now be the depth there to cope with such eventualities. The club do face a problem here. To admit that injuries so early on in the season is a factor in the club’s recent losses to Hartpury and Richmond would actually be a tacit admission that recruitment over the close season wasn’t as effective as it has stated. In other words, there isn’t the strength in depth that we all thought so sensible just a couple of weeks back. An interesting conundrum for the coaches.
Clearly there is a lot more pressure on the likes of Addleton, Morgan, Glackin and others to turn things around, and fairly sharpish. The players, too, have to take responsibility, but the signs are promising already. Various tweets and messages on social media from players involved in Saturday’s game clearly show how much this defeat hurt them and that concerns will be addressed before Saturday. Apologies to supporters, especially those who made their way down to Richmond, show that there is an understanding of what such a performance means to the Coventry faithful (I was at Villa Park to watch South Africa – eek).
Reading between the lines, I think there were some strong words said and the air cleared prior to returning to Coventry. I hope so; it’s what’s needed. It would seem that ill-discipline was a huge contributory factor in Coventry’s loss on Saturday. That is the most worrying thing for me. The players who were yellow carded are all vastly experienced and should know the importance of having 15 men on the pitch rather than 14, or even 13 at one point. If it’s true that every sinbin costs a team on average 7 points, well…
I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s home game against Plymouth. There are so many questions to be answered, the most important of which is what have the team and coaches learned from the last two weeks? I’ll expect to see something different, either in the tactics or, more importantly, in the attitude to the players. They need to win the hearts and minds of the Cov crowd…a first 25-30 minutes like that against Wharfedale or Loughborough and they’ll be a 1000+ fans in jubilant mood. A performance to match that against Hartpury and it could be a difficult afternoon and an even tougher following week. Cov are a Jekyll and Hyde team at the moment, with Jekyll to the fore and Hyde living up to his name.
Cov do still have the full complement of wheels on their waggon at the moment, but for how much longer? The knives and arrows are being sharpened…some scalps could get a close shave. But not by me…(wait for it) I just have reservations.