DMP et al.

I always feel much happier when Coventry release the team news on a Thursday afternoon, rather than delaying it until Friday.

An early announcement suggests that the coaches aren’t waiting on news from players who might be carrying an injury and as a result could suffer an adverse reaction on Friday morning, following Thursday’s evening training session.

And with an early announcement, thoughts invariably switch to the game on Saturday and away from other topics that might have been dominating the discussion board in the day’s leading up to the release of the match day squad.

Or might not, as the case may be.

And it has been eerily quiet this week.

Just 4 weekends left to the end of the season and with all that has been happening, frankly you’d have thought all was well at the Butts Park Arena.

The release of most of the current squad and coaches, the announcement of a new Head Coach, some discussion as to whether all the players believed to be re-signing next season will indeed be doing so, speculation as to who might be heading this way in the close season, potential changes that the new management structure might make – there’s endless possibilities for discussion.

But there’s nothing happening of note.

So the news that there are three changes to the Coventry team to play Darlington Mowden Park on Saturday gives everyone an opportunity to concentrate on the rugby side of things rather than continued contemplation the possible effects of all the developments currently taking place.

There are no real surprises in the team selected to play Darlington on Saturday because I don’t think there are any surprises left to make. I’m not sure who else could come into the match day squad  who is currently available, other than DRs. With little to play for and enough of the squad available to play, I don’t think it’s of much benefit to the club to have to have DRs still playing.

George Tresidder is the obvious exception because, other than Wayne Evans, who is probably unavailable due to the back strain he picked up last week, we have no recognised scrum halves. Were George forced out of the game, I imagine Caolan Ryan would deputise but if anything were then to happen to him…well, perhaps best not to ask.

So ignoring DRs, who is still around? Off the top of my head…

  • Daniel Carpo – injured? Or no longer required..? (This is where some updates from the club would be helpful)
  • Chad Thorne – injured?
  • Jacques Le Roux – injured
  • Gaston Mieres – injured (such a shame we didn’t get to see more of Gaston)
  • Cliffie Hodgson – injured
  • Adam Parkins – don’t get me started
  • Sam Smith – unable to play because contracted to Broadstreet until the end of the season
  • Loti Molitika – available but with Pailor, Oliver and Woodburn playing well as a unit, then unfortunately Loti misses out. A shame for Loti because he’s always  done well when he’s been called upon.

Apologies If I’ve missed anyone out, but the point would still be the same if I have – there are very few outside of the current match day squad who are even available for selection on Saturday, so Scott’s hands are tied. If he’d like to spring the odd change, he’s just not able to.

So the team for Saturday remains pretty much as expected, with young Joe Foreman being given a welcome chance to start. Joe performed admirably  when called up in January; certainly well enough to persuade Rowland Winter into offering him a contract next season. I look forward to watching him again against a Darlington scrum that certainly wasn’t dominant against Cov when we played them before Christmas.

Tom Poole remains on the bench which is a talking point, although the line outs  and scrums functioned well against Henley and Thomas and Wright both put in a good shift. Darlington will be a different proposition though and it remains to be seen just how effective they will be when defending against a team that won’t be inclined to run it quite as much as Henley did.

I don’t expect the game to be as open as it was a couple of weeks ago, something that Henley deserve a great deal of credit for. Irrespective of the fact that it was a Coventry win, as a match is was a great spectacle but I do think Saturday’s game will be won and lost upfront.

Tiploma Kivalu’s name isn’t being mentioned very often but I do believe he’s made a great deal of progress since he joined us as a late arrival back in  October (?). He was a strong scrummager even then, but there were some concerns over his fitness. However, in the last couple of games he’s lasted the full 80 minutes and has carried the ball far more than any of the other props. He must have trained extremely hard and he’s beginning to look a really useful player. He’d make a welcome addition to many National 1 teams next season.

Matt Price’s return comes as little surprise. Devlin Hope had a run of two games so Matt was due a start and Devlin certainly didn’t help his cause with a needless yellow card last week. I hope he gets another opportunity before the end of the season, perhaps for the final home game where he can say his goodbyes to those many supporters who have appreciated his efforts on the pitch and who have felt he has been unlucky not to get a little more game time, even with Matt Price having such a strong season.

On the wing, even though Ryan Hough scored two tries against Henley, I’m pleased Peter Weightman has another chance out on the wing on Saturday. I thought he looked really promising back in August and I’ve seen nothing to change my mind. Ryan must be disappointed, and rightly so, but Weightman gets my votes as he does seem to have that little bit extra about him. Tough call though, Ryan H did look sharp last weekend.

Darlington are clearly a different proposition to Henley Hawks, and we struggled to make the game safe against them at times. They’ve won 6 more games than us this season, although they have the same number of bonus points as us and have scored less than 50 more points, despite their win ratio. Whereas we’ve lost many of the close games we’ve been involved in, Darlington have come out on top in theirs (which was the case against us up in Darlington earlier in the season).

With home advantage and a crowd that’s noisy and partisan ,  we could get something out of the game. However, from the 14th November Darlington have played 17 and lost just 2 which is promotion form and had it not been for such a poor start to the season, they would be up there challenging Hartpury and Ampthill.

6 Darlington Mowden Park 26 17 9 14 82
7 Esher 26 16 10 17 81
8 Rosslyn Park 26 17 9 10 78
9 Fylde 26 10 15 19 61
10 Coventry 26 11 14 14 60

It’s going to be really tough for Cov, but with Fylde just one point ahead of us, the incentive of a 9th placed finish is the target to be aiming for between now and the final game against Wharfedale.

One final note…we have a lot to learn from many of the clubs in our league. Take for instance the way other clubs announce their match day squads. Here’s Darlington’s :

No need to say anything else other than it’s far more interesting than the way we do it.

It speaks for itself…well done DMP…

…although the music leaves a lot to be desired!


The winds of change might be beginning to blow elsewhere, but right now supporters still seem to be very much in the doldrums.

Oh, how I hope that, come September, there will be someone working within the club who can produce a  Coventry ‘blog’ on the official website, more factual and far less opinionated than this and with posts every couple of days or so, written by someone in the know and offering an insight into what is happening in and around Coventry RFC.

It could be directed at the supporters (young and old), focussing on all things Cov, perhaps with interviews on, and features about, players, coaches and staff with photo shoots from behind the scenes on training days and match days or just from within the office, bar or kitchens. I’d find something like that really interesting.

For someone who is working from within the club, perhaps one of the interns supervised by the person with responsibility for media coverage, it wouldn’t be too onerous and would certainly get supporters regularly logging on to the website for news, rather than  going directly to the unofficial messageboard to see if there’s anything coming second or third hand from supporters.

Supporters would be so much better served by some sort of ‘digital diary’ and I would certainly welcome the opportunity to read someone else’s thoughts rather than writing about my own, especially someone with access to everyone connected with the club. A cup of coffee and a few minutes reading about Cov every couple of days…heaven. Even something along the lines of Rosslyn Park’s hugely informative  ‘Park News’ would be a huge step forward – (

Something just to keep everyone interested when there isn’t much other Cov news available.

It could even be interactive, with opportunities for supporters to ask questions or post their own match day photos or reviews of the game even.

Anyway, that’s something for the future…

It’s all about the build up to Darlington now.




6 thoughts on “DMP et al.

  1. I think players are happy to get a chance no matter how it comes. And when it comes it’s up to them to make it there own. The frustration comes when they don’t get that opportunity. I hope a certain player close to my affections will get his first opportunity in the last home game of this season.and hold on to it for wharfdale.

  2. I would have thought so…if might be that you feel somewhat aggrieved by not playing in the first place and want to prove a point after coming in late to the side…? Still, Gerry’s been there and done so guess he should be in the know!

  3. Can’t really see Gerry’s argument…players surely aren’t that fragile and must understand the competition for places.

  4. From Facebook:
    Gerry Sugrue: An early announcement becomes a problem if one of the team has to drop out. The replacement player will know he wasn’t first choice so his motivation may be effected.
    Michael Carter: But if he is of a positive mind the replacement also knows he has a BIG chance.
    Gerry Sugrue :Yes but if he’d been dropped and then recalled he could feel embittered.
    Michael Carter: Of course but in his mindset he has another chance to reclaim his place. Think positive and be positive.
    Gerry Sugrue: Hard to be positive when you’ve had to cope with the disappointment of being dropped. Different players will respond in different ways. The negative effect is eliminated if the team is announced late.
    Michael Carter: Gerry we can agree to differ. But I am a very big believer in having a good captain plus a good coaching set up to install team spirit into a squad of players. Would love to see you and your brothers at BPA. How about it.
    Gerry Sugrue: My brothers have defected to Wasps. Although Cov are still my team, I won’t be attending the BPA. Here’s hoping for next season, as I’m concerned the Premier League will pull the drawbridge up soon.
    Michael Carter: Agree with you on the premiership inmo Cov will never be abl to have the financial clout to get there in my lifetime anyway.
    Gerry Sugrue: It’s only two promotions to the promised land with the resultant riches more than sufficient to allow consolidation, providing it’s not used to service loans. I would have thought forging stronger links with Wasps, would open up a pool of Premier quality players, by using the dual qualification option. This injection of talent could be the boost that is needed.
    Michael Carter: Easier said than done. The ground would need to be upgraded. academies are the norm could you really see Coventry achieve that in 5,10,15 years time ? We are a small city with at the moment three national league clubs. The quality of player you are on about would only be available for a very short time. This can and does create disorder. The Street have lost some good players because of this.
    Gerry Sugrue: Again, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t know about the ground, but matches could be played on Friday nights at the Ricoh while a ground is sorted. Player availability would improve now the World Cup has ended. The agreement with Wasps should allow for a miinimum number of players. Cov should still recruit their own players and they could probably share an academy with Wasps. Anyway, food for thought.
    Tim Smith Hi both…great discussion…a shame we don’t see more like this. Will copy it across to the blog so that others get the benefit of reading it…I do think there I room for some sort of partnership with Wasps and from some of the comments RW has made I think that is a route Cov will follow. Fair point about late announcements of teams, though I would have thought the player coming in a short notice would want to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

    Would be great to see Gerry at the Butts!

  5. I d like DMP’s video – excellent point about dong something like that early on in the season. My son and I take four or 5 weeks to learn the names – Bradstreet tweet their announcement slightly different but everyone who follows their Twitter feed receives it which is another way to do it. Lots of good examples to look at…
    Really looking forward to tomorrow.
    Looking forward to a strong Cov performance.

  6. Like you and many others Tim I’m looking forward to getting back up Butts Park tomorrow. Here’s hoping for a good, battling performance whatever the outcome!
    It’s interesting to see DMP’s video squad selection. It might seem like a gimmick but I would welcome something like this, or at least photos next to a team sheet, particularly early on in a season when new players are unfamiliar to supporters. This will definitely be the case next season…
    I really hope Cov latch on to the feeling from many supporters that we aren’t fed enough information from the club. One or two people appear happy with that but, judging by comments on the message board, the majority aren’t. The Rosslyn Park newsletter might be a bit much to aspire to – someone has obviously got a lot of time on their hands there – but they obviously realise there is merit to be gained from informing and encouraging supporters. Their website is equally as informative and Cov could do worse than follow the same model.
    Anyway, fingers crossed for a win tomorrow, some sunshine and a few pints of Ubu!

Any thoughts:

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