Club talk

Broadstreet RFC, who would you retain and Ealing Trailfinders or Moseley…?

If Coventry supporters are feeling somewhat down at the moment, spare a thought for those who follow Broadstreet.

It’s not been the best of seasons for them either and last weekend’s result against South Leicester means relegation is now a probability rather than a possibility.

South Leicester travelled to Coventry’s near neighbours  in a precarious position themselves, just one place above them, fourth from bottom and 4 points clear of ‘Street. A win for ‘Street could have seen them leapfrogging their opponents and at last beginning to feel the tide might be turning.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be…

That Broadstreet lost was bad enough, but the manner of their defeat made it so much worse and it must have been agonising to watch if you were one of the 200 there to witness South Leicester’s comeback. Leading 29-18 with just 10 minutes to go, ‘Street must have felt they had done enough to take the points provided they ran the clock down.

But sadly for them it wasn’t to be.

Two tries in the final 10 minutes for South Leicester, the second on 80 minutes, meant that ‘Street still had a one point advantage 29-28 with just the conversion to come. And despite the kick being from wide out in the corner, it was duly converted to give South Leicester the win 29-30.

Broadstreet are now 8 points from safety which doesn’t sound too much to make up, but  having played 2 more games than South Leicester and a game more than the two teams above them, Sale and Tynedale, the situation is looking pretty grim.

11 Sale 20 8 11 9 43
12 Tynedale 20 8 12 10 42
13 South Leicester 19 7 11 10 40
14 Broadstreet 21 6 15 8 32
15 Luctonians 18 6 11 6 32
16 Huddersfield 21 5 16 7 27

There are still 9 games left for Broadstreet to close the gap, but realistically if it was tough prior to the game, it’s become a whole lot harder since.

I was intrigued by a comment made on the messageboard by AgentB, one which has significant implications for Coventry if he’s correct in his judgement, but one that has yet to be taken  up by anyone else. I guess this is the view of a ‘Street supporter, and a pretty dedicated one too, so it should be given credence…

Street all but gone. a loss by 1 point seals their doom. Time for a rethink in Binley Woods
I would say. Best of luck to Cov next season great support over the last 2 seasons.
It was never going to last so time for both clubs to take a different direction.

Can the partnership between the two clubs continue if Street are relegated?

Would both teams want it to continue; indeed, will they still retain such close links if  Broadstreet survive the drop come April and remain in National 2 North in September?

From a distance it doesn’t look as if the partnership has been as effective as it might originally have been intended. I can only presume that one of the benefits accruing from the link should have been that ‘Street would have had the advantage of Coventry squad players, including loanees, appearing for them and hopefully adding to the strength of the match day squads.

Third from bottom and staring relegation in the face would suggest that perhaps this hasn’t quite worked out?

In addition, I understand that comments about the quality of the training pitches available haven’t endeared Coventry to their near neighbours, although the link has worked to some extent for Coventry in the that the likes of Le Roux, Hodgson, Smith, Foreman, Wolfenden, Hough, Molitika, Roberts and Wright (?) have all played for Street prior to returning to Cov from injury, or have been recalled to Cov whilst playing for ‘Street to cover for injury. Cov have also been able to train there mid-week, but the link looks a pretty one-sided affair to me…but that’s just a view from afar, so-to-speak.

Is it, as AgentB says, time for the clubs ‘to take a different direction’?

Is that already beginning to happen?

And is there interest in Binley Woods from the other side of the city as has been rumoured?

Both teams are in a state of flux and I doubt whether we’ll hear a great deal about the next phase in the partnership, or otherwise, until after the season has finished. For most of us, the relationship between the two clubs has little bearing on our support of Coventry on a Saturday afternoon…there’s no reason why it should. But it is important and has impacted on both teams over the last couple of seasons.

Whatever happens, I hope Coventry retain the friendly against ‘Street in August, especially as an away fixture. It’s an opportunity for Cov to experiment with their squad in match conditions and it enables supporters to see everyone play at some stage of the afternoon. It is also a very friendly and welcoming place and makes an ideal opener before Cov face the likes of the Ealings and London Welshs prior to the commencement of the league itself…

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With speculation increasing as to what will or won’t happen come the end of the season and how the announcement of the new DoR might impact on recruitment, I thought I’d look at the present squad and identify, with three quarters of the season now completed, those I’d want to keep, those I’d move on and those who I’m still unsure about.

I should stress this is my opinion, nothing more, and I’ve included it only because as supporters we are often looking at the make-up of our squad and discussions in the clubhouse or over a pint in the local during the week will often turn to the strengths and weaknesses of players and who you’d want to retain next season, especially at this time of the year.

It shouldn’t be taken too seriously…

 

Possible Coventry squad 2016/17

  Retain  Unsure Move on
1 Andy Brown Ben Thomas³ Scott Hamilton°
2 Tom Poole Alex Woodburn³ Daniel Carpo•
3 Dom Lespierre Sam Smith³ Tiploma Kivalu
4 Matt Price Ryan Hough³ Rory Hutchinson
5 Wayne Evans¹ Loli Molitika³ Jake Farnworth
6 George Oliver George Tresidder
7 Matt Jones¹ George Worth
8 Sam Pailor Reece Marshall
9 Rob Knox Tom Hicks
10 Jacques Le Roux Martin Wolfenden
11 Devlin Hope² Jake Caulfield
12 Chad Thorne Luke Hibberd
13 Caolan Ryan² Joe Carpenter
14 Peter Weightman Freddie Mills
15 Adam Parkins* Sam Baker
16 Gaston Mieres
17 Callum MacBurnie+
18 James Tincknell
19 Cliffie Hodgson
20 Danny Wright
21 Dan Rundle
22 Adam Canning∇
23 Liam Munroe
24 Joe Foreman

Names in red are D/R or on loan and so presumably will not be available for retention (although Tresidder and Hicks would be on my shopping list!).

¹ Jones and Evans are both in their early 30s, but they are class players and I’d want them to stay on for another season…Jones in particular should be a key player next season

² I’d love Devlin to stay but will he want to sit on the bench as often as he has done so far this season…he needs to be playing regularly. The same applies to Caolan Ryan – for the sake of their own careers should they move on?

³ Players who haven’t had a great deal of opportunity this season despite injuries elsewhere – will Coventry want to retain them or will they look to bring in players with more pedigree? Have all done a good job coming in, often at short notice and in difficult circumstances. I thought Sam Smith had a very good game on Saturday.

* Would welcome Adam P back but on the proviso that he remains solely a Cov player and isn’t sitting on the bench for Northampton  – crazy that he isn’t playing for us when we are short on fit props at the moment

° It might be a controversial decision, but I think Scott’s playing days are probably over now, even at this level. He’s also picking up a few injuries. I would like to see a long term replacement coming in next season rather than using Scott as a stop gap

• Daniel Carpo  hasn’t done enough for me to justify his retention despite his vast experience

+ I think a return to fitness for Callum is so important for the club…his partnership with Rob Knox last year was a feature for me, even though WIll Hurrell, Dom and Dan took the plaudits

∇ I’d retain Adam Canning because I think he’s a real talent and whilst he hasn’t played a game this season because of illness, in National 2 North last season he scored 302 points including 8 tries and 5 drop goals for Bees in the season they were relegated, which is no mean feat – I think he might also have got into the League’s own ‘dream team’, but I can’t be certain about that.

All this presupposes, of course, that  the players I’d retain will want to stay on next season, which of course is by no means a given. It might be, for example, that Rob Knox and Dan Rundle want to test themselves at a higher level, and it would be hard to criticise them for that. The saving grace for Coventry supporters is that both have had injury hit seasons (not wishing any ill on them) and clubs might want them to prove their fitness prior to signing them up. Hopefully one more season then – and if we got ourselves promoted…? Others players might not fancy a change in the coaching structure. What is certain is that there will be those who choose to move one.

I think I’ve probably retained too many of this season’s squad given that the results this season have been so disappointing. However, with so many of the players suffering some sort of injury during the course of the season, especially in the backs, we have yet to see a fully fit squad with the all the options  that allows the coaches, something that has obviously contributed to Coventry’s disappointing season so far. We still have  to put out our strongest side, let alone give them a run of games and whilst injuries are always going to be an issue for any rugby club, I’d like to see a lot of the present squad starting afresh under a new coaching regime and injury free. If that does happen then I think we might see a more confident, more successful Coventry next season.

Most of these players were playing in a team that finished third in the league the season before and maybe under Rowland Winter and a new coaching set up, these players can rediscover their form – if finances aren’t as strong as they were this time last year, with a 30% reduction in attendances, it might well mean that the club aren’t able to make the sweeping changes that they would have hoped for anyway.

I’m sure every supporter would draw up a different list which is what makes it such an interesting exercise, including those who would move on almost everyone and start again!

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National 1 clubs will be looking with interest at the Championship to see who will be joining them next season. It looks like it’s going down to the wire, with Ealing Trailfinders currently in the one relegation spot, with Moseley, Rotherham and London Welsh above them, although it looks pretty certain that it’s a two horse race to the bottom between Ealing and Moseley unless their are some particularly dramatic results over the remainder of the season.

I know I’ll upset a few readers here, but I’d rather see Moseley join us than Ealing Trailfinders. Yes, the old rivalry will be renewed, but that’s no the sole reason. Should Ealing Trailfinders be relegated they’d become automatic favourites to be promoted in their first season back in National 1, having done so on the two occasions they’ve been relegated in the last few years. They have what some sports commentators refer to as ‘bouncebackability’ and in the past they have been able to retain their Championship squads pretty much on a full-time basis. Were that to happen again next year, it would make it difficult, although not impossible, for other teams in the league to effectively challenge them for the top spot. It certainly wouldn’t be good news for Coventry.

How Moseley would cope financially were they to drop down a division is an unknown – I’m not sure whether they have the resources to allow them to do as Ealing have done in the past and I rather feel they might have to take the same approach as Plymouth have this season, taking a year out to consolidate (and they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with next season).

If Coventry are looking to make another (?) push on the National title next season, then I think they’d prefer to see Moseley at The Butts rather than Ealing. It would certainly be a bumper gate and a fixture that would be eagerly awaited by many of us from the moment the 2016/17 list is released.

9 London Welsh 16 7 9 6 34
10 Rotherham Titans 16 6 10 4 28
11 Moseley 16 4 12 8 24
12 Ealing Trailfinders 16 3 12 7 21

 

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