Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy
The Boys Are Back In Town…
‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ – Thin Lizzy
The boys are truly back in town tomorrow and hopefully there will be a larger than average crowd to welcome them onto the pitch come 3.00 pm. Having regained a bit of their pre-season form and with the prospect of a good win against a side that’s only managed 1 point from a possible 25 from its last 5 games, this should be an afternoon to enjoy for Cov supporters…
Now I wonder how many people reading that last paragraph will have felt a little uneasy…words like over-confident, brash, cocky, presumptious and foolhardy coming to the fore, instead believing that we should all be more circumspect when going into games like this.
Such a reaction is totally understandable, but part of me thinks that one of the reasons we haven’t performed as we should is not because we are lacking the technical ability or the experience to beat other teams, rather it’s because as a team we don’t have that cockiness or brashness that goes with a complete self-belief in ourselves and those around us. No one will persuade me that Esher are player for player a better team than us, but on the day they played with an assurance and self-belief that we just could match.
Bear with me here – I’m sure this probably doesn’t read as it sounds in my head. But it makes sense to me…
One of the problems so far this season has been that until the last game against Cinderford there has been little stability within the team. As a result of injuries and a run of disappointing results and frustrating performances both at a team and individual level, the coaches had to chop and change the side.
In addition, a number of players were recruited in October and November (Baker, Smith, Carpo, Hutchinson, Farnworth, Hicks, Marshall et al) either as full-time or dual registered players. No criticism there at all from me; the coaches had to do what they felt was necessary to ensure Coventry had the personnel it needed to perform at a level on the pitch that was acceptable to everyone from the Board down.
All well and good but I’m not altogether sure in retrospect this worked as hoped. Could it have unsettled the players who were already here, perhaps? Could it have triggered some self-doubt in the minds of those already at the club, believing the coaches no longer had confidence in them? And when you play with self-doubt, well there’s only ever going to be one result.
I’ve come to such a conclusion because once the decision was made to return to the spine of the team that played so effectively last season (remember, only 4 of the team weren’t playing at some point in that record-breaking run of 18 unbeaten games last season), there seemed to be an almost immediate sea change in the way people felt, noticeable on the messageboard, amongst the players, in the crowd and on the pitch against Blaydon.
This is a team that has played together for a couple of season now. They are confident with each other, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of individuals and being able to play to them. Whilst the team aren’t either cocky or brash, they do have a confidence that was missing in many of the previous games. An I do want to see some swagger on the pitch…Dan Rundle exudes it. Give him the ball anywhere on the pitch and there’s part of us that believes he can score because we believe he knows he can. It makes for fantastic rugby. and it lifts everyone else in the team.
The decision to go back to the spirit of 2014 was such a great call from someone. Or maybe it just arose out of circumstance…whatever the reason, it has halted the rot and the team look like they believe in themselves again.
Whether it’s a short term fix or a long term plan, who knows. But it was a great decision made at a very difficult time. Whether my enthusiasm for the current change is shared by everyone in the squad is not so clear; I guess there are players now who must be extremely frustrated at seeing a return to the old guard, particularly those recruited during the close season. But when you have a squad of 40+, even taking away the injuries you’re going to have 10-12 players who are going to miss out on the match day squad.
Anyway…all that was to explain my belief that perhaps everyone should go into tomorrow’s game believing Cov will win and win well. That’s not to suggest we should be in anyway over-confident or arrogant and patronising towards the opposition, just that we know that Coventry have a very strong and talented squad and should be winning their matches at home against anyone in the league, especially now they’ve got some form behind them.
The boys are back in town and I still think them cats are crazy…
Before making a couple of comments about the announcement of tomorrow’s team, I though I’d just give Henley Hawks a big thumbs up for the following:
FREE SUPPORTERS BUS TO COVENTRY THIS SATURDAY!
Book your place now! https://t.co/1dTyXloBig
— Henley Hawks Rugby (@HenleyHawks) November 25, 2015
What a great gesture! The club haven’t had to part with a penny to finance it. Instead, by showing a little bit of creative thinking they’ve got one of their sponsors to put their hands in their pockets and dig a little bit deeper.
Result? Some happy fans, a sponsor that’s got free publicity across both sets of supporters (I retweeted it and have publicised it here for starters) and a team very grateful of the additional supporters who’ll make the journey now, but who wouldn’t have done so otherwise.
Brilliant. Hats off to Ballards Estate Agents of Henley.
I doubt anyone from the club reads these posts, but if they do – here’s a thought…Darlington next week…a long journey by car or public transport (and very expensive, too).
There won’t be many travelling to the North East at the moment…any ideas as to how the club offer a helping hand?
Great news about the team announced yesterday!
You can almost work out the mood in the Coventry camp by when the first news of the announcement appears on the Messageboard.
Yesterday, Tom kindly put a post out at lunchtime, the earliest it’s been since…well, too long to recall really. Some weeks when things aren’t going to plan results wise, it can be as late as Friday morning/early afternoon. More often than not it’s late afternoon on the Thursday. Thursday mid-day and all must be well in the Cov camp.
Understandable, of course, but I did give a smile when I read Tom’s post. For the second week running it must have been a very straightforward selection meeting. All things being equal, changing a winning team would have been a very strange decision indeed and with the present team improving game by game, why would you make changes?
And the news gets better…Gaston Mieres commits himself until the end of the season, Cliffie Hodgson is back in training and Adam Parkins injury isn’t as serious as first feared.
I’m looking forward to hearing of Cliffie’s return to full fitness and how the club will approach his phased return into the match day squad. I said my bit about Cliffie earlier in the week and made it clear I’m very pro his return into the team. Whilst there are those who will have some reservations, I do feel that once fit, he’s far too good to be loaned out to Broadstreet until injuries elsewhere allow him to return.
He could certainly be used initially as the utility player on the bench, in a similar role to that of Caolan Ryan at the moment. Caolan has done a sterling job up to now, but Cliffie would offer a few more options at full back, fly half and centre, even if he might not have the out-and-out pace that Ryan has.
Hodgson’s return is certainly a welcome one.
And as for Gaston Mieres, well I can’t believe that he wouldn’t have had offers other than from just Coventry; he’s a quality player and there would surely be teams in our league and above interested in procuring his services? The fact that he is happy to come to Cov suggests he believes in the team, the coaches and has bought into the Cov’s vision for the rest of the season. Why else would he be here?
So fair play to those involved in bringing him to the Butts. Many of us have expressed concerns about things on and off the field at times this season but the capture of Mieres is significant and must be a huge fillip to the rest of the squad.
But I still can’t stop myself having a dig at Coventry’s PR here.
Wouldn’t it have been better to have announced his capture in an article on the website, a visual fanfare to herald his signing as it were? An interview with him, perhaps, looking at why he decided to come to Cov, why only until the end of the season, how it felt having played in front of, I guess, nearly 80, 000 partisan English fans in the World Cup and a little over a month later be making your Cov debut against Cinderford watched by fewer than 380 etc etc? Add a clip of his debut try and something from one of his team mates or the Chairman. Not difficult to do and hardly time-consuming as it could have been done before or after a training session.
The man’s an international, for goodness sake.
Just seems downbeat to make the announcement at the end of the weekly team bulletin. Hardly great for him either.
Me, I’d have made a big thing of it…I’d want to announce it to the rest of the league, show everyone we’re making a statement of intent – Cov haven’t thrown in the towel and are recruiting international players to bolster their National 1 campaign.
Hell, you might even attract a new sponsor or two…
…that reminds me, must book my rail ticket for Darlington next week.