Coventry can hardly be accused of failing to offer their supporters value for money.
In most seasons, 10th position would have meant the season would be all but over and with little to play for other than pride and a contract or two. But with so much uncertainty on and off the field, interest will be maintained right up until the final game and beyond.
National League 1 is now pretty much split into 3 groups, with Coventry in 10th position and floundering, a little precariously, at the bottom of the second group made up of those clubs that aren’t in the fight for either relegation or promotion. The best these clubs can hope for is a few wins between now and the end of the season in order to ensure they retain their present position, as in Ampthill’s case, or move up to table to a slightly more respectable (or less disappointing) position, as in Coventry’s.
Even with 7 games left, there isn’t a great deal to motivate most of the clubs involved in this group and the danger is the season peters out with attendances dropping and bar takings down. Hardly cause for supporters to dig deep into their pockets in readiness for the release of next year’s season tickets, especially for the more established clubs such as Rosslyn Park, Fylde and Esher.
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Coventry are going to struggle to narrow the gap on the teams above them, with perhaps Fylde the only team in danger of being caught by us in the remaining 7 games, unless there are some very strange results between now and April. Cov don’t have the most difficult of run-ins, but the gap between them and Rosslyn Park seems too great to close in on, let alone overtake, given Cov’s current form.
I remember having a cursory look at the fixtures at the start of the season and thinking that, were we to be there or thereabouts come the beginning of March, the remaining games actually worked in our favour, with maybe Blackheath away being the potential banana skin and that someone at the RFU has been particularly kind to us for a change.
How naïve was I?
6 months on and it’s a very different picture.
So how could we expect to fare in these remaining games?
A quick check amongst those of you are regulars on the messageboard and who take part in the Coventry Prediction League will confirm that I am resting at the foot of the table and if there was a relegation zone, I’d be well and truly in it.
To be fair, my own exceptionally poor performance this season has been the result of my refusal ever to predict a Coventry loss and the onset of some form of clinical amnesia which has meant I’ve forgotten to predict three weeks of results
You might like to bear this in mind as you read on…
I’ve decided to bite the bullet and actually go with the head, rather than the heart. The heart says we’ll win all 7 games, earning bonus points in each one and sit in 6th place on 85 points come the end of the season.
Not so the head, unfortunately…
- Blaydon (a) W
- Cinderford (h) W
- Henley (a) W
- Doncaster Mowden Park (h) L
- Blackheath (a) L
- Ampthill (h) W
- Wharfedale (a) L
However, with both Hartpury and Blackheath still to play (as well as Plymouth and Rosslyn Park), Richmond can’t afford to relax at all or else they could trip up at the final hurdle. Stranger things have happened.
Nor are they particularly community orientated in the way that Coventry is. The outreach work that is such an important part of Coventry’s mission statement is lacking in the likes of Hartpury and Loughborough, although in fairness Loughborough run mini/junior rugby at the weekend as well as a women’s rugby team.
In effect, many of the players become petty much full-time given the paucity of lectures and timetabled study time so they can benefit from the very best training facilities all day, every day, supervised by full-time coaches.
As you will already be aware, the Foresters started playing in a new league, known as the Northern Pilot League, on 2 January this year. The league consists of the top 2nd XVs in Yorkshire and the North East. The teams involved this season in addition to our Foresters are Blaydon, Darlington Mowden Park, Harrogate, Hull Ionians and Tynedale.
As you are already aware, Darlington Mowden Park did not fulfil (sic) their Northern Pilot League fixture against the Foresters at the Avenue on 29 January. As a result the match was awarded to the Foresters along with 5 league points. In addition, instead of the return match against Darlington Mowden Park on the 9 April being away, it will now be played at The Avenue.