Club talk

Wasps expansion into Broadstreet confirmed and Exodus (the movement of the people)…amongst other things

Wasps application to Rugby BC for changes to Broadstreet RFC stand et al

Well I guess it’s all out in the open now (or it is if you look hard enough for it)…even if it is via the back door. Above is Wasps’ application to Rugby Borough Council for an:

Erection of a temporary extension to Ivor Preece Centre for use by Wasps Rugby Club as interim training facility, together with a temporary change of use of part of the existing building currently used as a residential flat to uses associated with the Wasps training facility, and the provision of an artificial running track.

Did we jump or were we pushed…?

There are a number of questions arising from this that probably need answering, amongst which from me would be:

  • Why, when Coventry appeared delighted with the arrangement with Broadstreet at the start of the season, as was said at the Fans’ Forum, has it appeared to come to a rather abrupt end, if indeed it has (and this does need clarifying – I must stress it’s speculation on my part)?
  • Is it our decision to break away from the partnership is this the reason why Wasps are able to move in, or is it Wasps’ interest in Broadstreet that has effectively brought an end to it all?
  • Were Coventry kept informed of this from the start?
  • How does this effect Coventry’s outdoor training…are Cov going to continue to use ‘Street as a base or are they now forced to move elsewhere before the end of the season?
  • Where will those players not in the first team squad be playing their rugby on a Saturday until the end of the season – if anywhere?
  • Where will players coming back from injury (and we have a few of those!) get some much needed game time if the plug has been pulled on Broadstreet (no players were in the ‘Street squad last Saturday)?
  • How temporary is temporary…? Do Wasps have plans to remain there long term?

Wasps continue to expand and we seem to be becoming more and more isolated…is this something we should be increasingly worried about…are we looking to develop links with other junior clubs in the area…? Etc etc

It would be good to get a statement from the club before April’s Forum…but whether that will be forthcoming given Cov’s recent history…well who knows…

There are others who are far better informed who wil know the answers to some or all of these questions – my interest is more about the impact it will have on Coventry than the reasons Wasps are able to move in…although it would be very interesting to find out the background to all this…

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Uh! Open your eyes and look within,
Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living) Uh!
We know where we’re going, uh!
We know where we’re from.
We’re leaving Babylon…

Exodus – Bob Marley

Martin Wolfenden is the latest player to leave the club and what has begun as a trickle could well turn into something akin to a flood come the end of the season. Whilst it might not be an exodus of biblical proportions, I’m sure there will be more leaving come this April than last.

Poor results, frustration at not getting a regular place in the side and a change of DoR will almost certainly mean some players move on or are moved on. Talks are clearly already underway by all accounts and players will be discussing with agents, other players and families what the best move might be. From a comment made a while back, I understand that all the squad bar one are likely to have an agent of some sort…but just how much of an input into the decision to stay or move on they have, I’m not sure. Do clubs deal directly with the agent, or through the player?

No one ‘s ever really explained at this level quite how the retention and recruitment of players works. How much of a role do agents play at National 1 and would it be the same for the Championship? At this time of year, are agents working behind the scenes to open up channels of communication between themselves and other clubs, or is the initial contact from the club…?

I have a vision of secret meetings of agents and club officials in motorway service stations to avoid being spotted by John Wilkinson…but I guess the truth is rather more mundane than that. Does the ‘poaching’ of players go on…and how easy is it for a player who is committed to a club for , say, two years leave at the end of the first? Easier if both sides are in agreement but less so if one isn’t, perhaps?

Again, it something that would make an interesting talk one evening at the club, or a feature article in the Telegraph. How things work behind the scenes always fascinates me – the extent of the wheeling and dealing that sometimes has to take place in order for a player to join. I bet there have been some last minute signings in the past or ones where there’s a story or two to tell.

Anyway…I think Martin Wolfenden is the 7th player to leave this season, although that’s off the top of my head, the full list being: Liam Munroe, Harrison Lee-Everton, Terry Sigley, Rikki Stout, Tom Preece, Courtney Roberts and Martin Wolfenden. I’m not sure HL-E ever signed though. I have a vague recollection that he was never more than a trialist.

I remember at the August Fans’ Forum either Phil Maynard or Scott Morgan singling out a couple of players whom they expected would make a big impact this season. One was James Tincknell and the other was Martin Wolfenden. Sadly, things haven’t worked out of either player and Martin’s departure to Clifton, who play in National 2 South, should guarantee him regular rugby. He’s been extremely unlucky with injuries this season and just the one start for Coventry must be a huge disappointment both for him and the club. It’s a real pity we didn’t get to see more of him at the Butts – I wish him all the very best.

I hope the the move is one that works well for him.

I’m sure there will be other players who will be doing something similar over the coming weeks. I expect, though, that we’ll find out via the messageboard and social media, rather than via the club, as with Martin.

I wonder if that will be the case when the new recruits start to arrive…?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two weeks to the next game. A long time, especially when finally we’ve seem to have got a bit of momentum going. Three losses in the last three games isn’t anything to get overly excited about, but in the last 100 minutes or so of rugby that I’ve watched there are signs there that would suggest Cov are at least playing as a team now, something that they’ve struggled to for much of the season. Blaydon, even away, is very much one that we’d expect to get a win from…it’s not such a fortress these days.

Two weeks will also give  players who are currently injured a little more recovery time and I expect they’ll be a few changes from the side that put up such a strong showing against Esher. Players returning from injury must be a good thing, but the present side, made up as it is of several fringe players who are only there through injury, have brought some pride back to the team and it will be hard on them if they suddenly find themselves either on the bench or left in Coventry.

Scott will have a difficult job in getting the balance right…Worth, Smith, Hough, Ryan, Wright, Tresidder and Hicks have all had a positive impact on the pitch and  the team seems to be beginning to settle into playing a more high intensity, more ‘in your face’ game with quick ball and committed defence…would the tempo be lost, or at least different, by making wholesale changes?

What would Coventry’s best team look like now, given the difference in approach after the last couple of games…?

We won’t know the answers for another 10 days, but I’m sure that the recent additions to the side, coming into the team as they have done and making a real difference, would be disappointed to say the least to find they are no longer needed. And to be fair, they’ve taken the heat off Scott and the coaches to a certain extent…a couple of performances against Park and Esher in the manner of the Fylde game and the mood of the supporters would be very different.

But the likes of Knox, MacBurnie, Jones, Mieres, Poole, Woodburn and co won’t be too far away from a return. Do you bring them all back in one go or phase them in a couple at a time? They are seasoned players, experienced at this level and above in most cases and are able to provide that extra level of skill and understanding that can change games so quickly.

Nigel H quite rightly made the comment that however much the improvement, we won’t win games unless we score tries and that is something we’ve clearly struggled to do this season. Nige put it partly down to being unimaginative which might be the case, but I think it’s more down to the fact that there aren’t the players in the side to unlock defences this season. Knox, Hurrell and Rundle all have that ability and MacBurnie’s partnership with Rob was also an important factor.

Injuries and departures have meant that there isn’t the key in midfield to unlock defences, or at least to give the wings the opportunity to take the ball at pace and coming in on an angle…that’s why I’d use Weightman in the same way we used Hurrell. He’s very young still but he’s big and strong and powerful, with a fair bit of pace too as he showed at Rosslyn Park. Dom is the best finisher we have had for a while, and he rarely fails to score when he’s given a bit of room, but a Rundle he’s not. He benefited by having Weightman in the side against Park and could do so again…

Tincknell hasn’t yet lived up to expectations and whilst I thought  Sam Smith had a good game on Saturday, we do need to bring in someone who is more creative in midfield, should either Knox or MacBurnie be unavailable (or if they decide to move on…). My big hope is that Rowland Winter is  the attack coach for Cambridge as well as being DoR and it may be that he can introduce a game plan that enables Cov to be rather more attack-minded than we are at present.

I’m all for going through the phases and moving the ball slowly up the pitch, but so many times we get caught by an attack from deep, using pace out wide to gain the quick yards. It’s something we just haven’t seen a great deal of for much of the season and I’m not altogether sure why.

One of the problems with having to go through so many phases is that if your ball retention isn’t as reliable as it should be, you might have had the ball in your possession for some time but actually not made much ground territorially and once the ball is spilled, you’re immediately defending far closer to your own line than you might otherwise be. I know Scott wanted to get back to the basics and it’s easy to see why, but if the basics down always work, you’re in a mess.

We saw that a couple of times on Saturday, where we tried to retain possession but the ball was lost and we were immediately on the back foot…indeed, it was our undoing in the end. However, one of the features of the Esher game was the number of turnovers we managed to achieve over the course of the game. The back row in particular, but the defensive line in general, played magnificently and only succumbed the once and that was to a catch and drive following a kick in to the corner.  It was a much better performance on that front and if the same improvements could be made in attack, we might yet be able to achieve a couple of notable scalps on our way to the end of what has been a pretty mediocre season, however you look at it.

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 So we gonna walk, all right! Through de roads of creation,
We the generation (Tell me why!)
(Trod through great tribulation) trod through great tribulation.

Exodus, all right! Movement of Jah people!
Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah! All right!
Exodus, Movement of Jah people! Oh, yeah

Exodus – Bob Marley

4 replies »

  1. From a Broadstreet perspective, I hope that any relationship between Cov and Street won’t die due to the Wasps deal!

    What we would like to see is the relationship working better to suit both parties, the occasional player this season (admittedly more than likely linked to the Cov injury crisis) has offered Street little support and on one occasion has been a hindrance (taking one of our 2 regular props on a Thursday night during the training session). This said the quality players we have had (Courtney, Cliffie, Smith, Ryan and Preece) all have come in and shown a touch of class, and proved what a difference this can make in the league where we are competing.

    Although the Wasps deal is great for Broadstreet, it is temporary and Coventry is still the step up from Junior rugby that Street players (and other junior clubs) strive for, I still believe local players who do have the potential to be involved with Coventry are being overlooked, and we certainly as a club would be proud to see any of our guys making the step up.

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    • Great to hear from you and I imagine you comments would echo what most Cov supporters would feel. I always thought the partnership was a little one-sided with regard to our players coming in and out and the obvious disruption that must cause. You sound cautiously optimistic which is good and personally I’d love to be at Broadstreet come the first week in August watching both teams’ first run outs of the season.
      Thanks for sharing your comments…
      Tim

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  2. Hi tim another interesting blog. Just a thought on recruitment I know most clubs try to sort out contracts out round about Christmas time. Like you say most players have agents who will tell players which clubs are interested in them. So that gives them a bit of bargaining power to obtain a better contract with there current club if that club wants to retain them. These negotiations can last till end of season. But other clubs who want certain players can get in touch with them so easy through social networking. To make out its not poaching all they need to do is ask what are your plans for next season. This is the most common way of clubs letting players know they are interested in them. Most payers will be sorted before the end of the season and probably know where they will be playing for that following year. Agents will always do there best for players. but to be fair players from other clubs know players from other clubs and they talk to each other and moves can be done this way as well. Like you say there is no exodus but it’s hard for clubs to keep players happy if there not getting game time or that clubs style of rugby doesn’t bring out the best in players they brought in. This squad or should I say the players I watched last season where at a great standard last season they don’t become bad players overnight but I can’t put my finger on how this season has panned out. But I wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season and like yourself hope we can finish with a bit of an upturn.

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    • Brilliant, thanks for that…hadn’t even thought about the use of social media…imagined it would be more formal than that. Just shows my age!
      I guess playing one club off against another is no different to going shopping and tell one store the item you’re after is cheaper elsewhere! Like you, I don’t this is a ’10th in the league squad’ and with a bit of confidence and the input of a new DoR they could be there or there abouts again next season with a dozen or so new players to cover players leaving and gaps that have been identified…
      Only time will tell…but here’s hoping for a decent last few weeks

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