Club talk

Good news, an arresting story and a poll…

Great to see some positive news about players who are hoping to return to Coventry after long term illness. Although both Pierre Ferre and Adam Canning have both been forced to sit out the season so far following serious long term injuries, there’s some positive news from both about a return to fitness, although one is more imminent than the other.

It will almost be like having two new players back and their presence will certainly strengthen the squad come September.

Ferre, a product of Coventry and Henley Academy played several games for Coventry last season and looked really promising with quick hands and a desire to up the tempo whenever he came on. George Tresidder has been a revelation since his arrival but given he’ll be back with Leicester  in April, I do think Ferre could become the natural successor to the number 9 shirt , although he might need to understudy someone with the experience of a Wayne Evans for a season or two first.

I’m presuming he’s still contracted to Coventry – unless I’ve missed something? Henley College tweeted:

Former Coventry 1st team & Academy scrum half Pierre Ferre returns after long term injury to Broadstreet RFC welcome back ‪#‎CovRugbyAcademy‬

suggesting he’s now at Broadstreet, whilst in the previous season in 2014 it was:

Academy scrum half Pierre Ferre signs contract with Coventry RFC for next season……Developing talent…

Was Pierre released from his contract following his injury…to be fair, I rather think I’ve missed something, perhaps someone can clarify this? If he can get himself back to full fitness he’ll be a great acquisition for Street or Cov. Whatever the case, I wish him well.

Those who have been reading the blog for a while will know that I’ve been a big fan of Adam Canning since his arrival and was pretty sure that he’d be able to hold his own in National 1, having been with Bees last season. As things turned out, especially with the injury to Matt Jones, Adam might have had a big part to play over the last three months or so, but sadly it was not to be.

So John Wilkinson’s feature on Adam earlier this week was of particular interest – I don’t know if it’s just me, but the articles on players have been extremely welcome indeed and hopefully there will be a couple more before the end of the season…names of players to be featured on a postcard lease to JW…

Adam seems to be targeting the start of next season as his return date and is anxious to make up for lost ground:

But with this campaign already written off, Canning’s appetite for the game and desire to play for Cov remains unchecked and his sights are firmly fixed on next season when he hopes he will have the opportunity to prove his worth for the Blue and Whites.

But given he’s not been able to undertake any training at all yet , it’s going to be a long hard road back.

But the important thing is to ensure he is ready to come back – he must be so frustrated sitting on the sidelines watching Coventry this season and knowing he could have been playing had it not been for a stray forearm. At least he’s got the sense to heed the medical advice he’s been receiving and hopefully he’s now turned a corner as far as the injury is concerned and he’ll be able to resume light training shortly. I’m glad the club are standing by him and look forward to watching him in the blue and white jersey come the start of the league fixtures next season.

Head injuries in sport generally, and rugby in particular ,are becoming more and more of a concern and as players get bigger and stronger, so the frequency of such injuries will increase. His return to the game is, of course, secondary to Adam ensuring that he recovers fully from what appears to have been a very serious injury.

Although Cambridge play in Division 2 South and Birmingham and Solihull played last season in National 2 North, I’m sure Rowland Winter will be well aware that Adam finished top points scorer in the league, playing as he was for one of the 3 relegated teams. No doubt he’ll be hoping Adam can regain the fitness and form that helped him mass 300+ points that season.

It was interesting reading Adam’s belief that the modern game:

especially at the professional level, is going too far down that road rather than skilful players who do the right things at the right time. If you watch rugby at the top level it can be really dour, players running head-on into players and the strongest wins.

Isn’t this one of the criticisms that could be directed at many of the National 1 games played this season? Phase after phase team gain centimetres rather than metres as players, one after another, pick up and go or take short passes the scrum half after yet another ruck, endlessly. It’s not pretty to watch and it must take a toll on teams, both in offense and attack.

The Cov side of last season was the antithesis of this…with Hurrell running at pace on an angled path through defences and offloading to players in support, or Rundle  running the ball from deep and using his speed to leave defences floundering. Dom benefitted hugely from the more open play that typified our season and it was thrilling to watch and it is why  I always enjoy seeing teams like Fylde play as they have such a cavalier approach at times (frustrating for a Fylde supporter but great for the neutral and a nightmare if you’re on the receiving end, as we have been on more than one occasion).

Adam nails it for me when he says:

you get the odd good game, but even in internationals there is not much skill and flair. Teams only send one or two players into a ruck, the rest fan out and there is no space which results in end-to-end kicking and a focus on the set piece

How many times have Cov fallen into that trap…the rugby version of ping pong with spectators doing their best to impersonate Centre Court crowds at Wimbledon?

Pace, innovation and flair can unlock defences in ways that brute force can’t and the likes of Knoxy, Dom, Mieres and Jones have just that. Hodgson, Weightman and MacBurnie are the ones,  for me, who would be the lynchpins, although young Sam Smith looks to have something about him and increasingly he’s looking more comfortable at this level.

I’d like to see Rowland Winter who is, after all, the attack coach for Cambridge, work with the majority of the squad for a while before deciding if wholesale changes are necessary. I don’t think it will happen and there be a fair few on their way out in the coming weeks. However, for me they’ve proved they can produce it before and will do so again if the new DoR can bring the best out of them, just as Scott and Phil M did last season. Many of the same players have remained but in very different circumstances.

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I know it’s wrong to be amused by the misfortune of others but I must admit I did chuckle at a rugby related story that was in the news a couple of days ago. It centres around a Gloucestershire police officer who was sacked for going to watch a rugby match at Gloucester whilst on emergency duty and failing to answer a 999 call in order to stay to the end of the game.

I wouldn’t be so inclined to laugh if he hadn’t already been on a final warning, so the chap in question only has himself to blame. Apparently, in full uniform he walked through the turnstiles during the match without paying on the pretext that he wanted to provide ‘high visibility policing’ during extra time in the Gloucester V Connacht  European Cup play off.

Whilst there he received  two 999 calls, answering one and ignoring the other which was a ‘Grade 1’ call from a woman nearby.

The bit that amused me was his claim that he had no interest in the sport, despite declaring to the court the fact that his brother, uncle and cousin had all played for Gloucester…

Seems like a fair cop to me…

Wouldn’t it be great though to have the sorts of crowds that justified a police presence? It must be a good few years since a bobby was seen on duty at a Cov home game – not in the life time of the Butts surely, and perhaps as far back as the Cov v Newcastle game all those years ago?

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A lot of really positive discussions have taken place over the last few weeks amongst supporters on the messageboard or elsewhere with positive suggestions about areas the club could or should be prioritising to further develop over the coming months. I’ve sifted through some of them and put them into a poll. Please take  minute to complete it.

After a few days I’ll publish the results.

Whilst it’s not scientific, it does provide some idea of the areas of the club where supporters feel there is most need to further develop over the coming months.

Please highlight in the appropriate spaces  just 4 of the 8 options that you think are the most important, given the obvious constraints. The choices appear randomly, so the order you see them in will probably be different to the order most others will.

Hope this makes sense.

Thank you in advance for taking part…

 

 

7 replies »

    • Blogging, receiving WhatsApp messages every couple of minutes and now listening to Stevie…

      Yet the thought of losing you’s been hanging ‘Round my mind

      It’s been a surreal 24 hours…and it’s still continuing. Kids, eh? They put you through it! Hopefully, not too much longer…it’s a case of when push comes to shove…or:

      Like

  1. Yesterday and today two very good blogs and NO comments. Plus avery good poll. Now on the message board their is a poll from the start of the season. If you care to look at that Tim I am sure you could find something in that to create another blog.

    Like

    • That’s very kind of you, Mick. Comments are always really welcome but it’s not a worry when there aren’t any. I know from the numbers of views that it’s popular (1700 views last Sat!) and loads of folk have kindly responded to the poll. I started the blog because outside the Messageboard, which is the so important to many Cov supporters, there was precious little other reading material…JW excluded of course. If it generates a bit of further interest or discussion and if a few people look forward to a read most days, then that’s great. It’s a hobby and even if no one read it, I’d still write it…the fact you and a few others will contribute sometimes is really appreciated which is why I try and respond. Cov has played a big part in my life. A consistent friend in an inconsistent world…

      Like

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