Club talk

Broadstreet and Dave Addleton

Moseley weren’t the only local team playing national league rugby to have their relegation confirmed on Saturday.

That fate also befell Broadstreet RFC.

Sadly, it had been on the cards for a long time, but their defeat at home to Leicester Lions on Saturday means that with just two games left they can no longer catch 13th placed Sandal.

13 Sandal 28 11 16 9 55
14 Sale 27 10 15 11 55
15 Broadstreet 28 8 20 11 43
16 Huddersfield 28 6 22 9 33

Broadstreet’s relegation can’t be in the interests of a club like Coventry, yet sadly it has gone almost unnoticed, or at least without comment.

If Coventry is to thrive it needs players coming up through the junior ranks in and around the city, as well as the more experienced players from the Championship and National 1. For every Phil Boutlon there needs to be a Joe Foreman, and not simply because it recruitment is a less costly activity.

If Coventry can’t attract the calibre of local players it needs because clubs like ‘Street are playing at least two tiers below us, then they will have to caste their net further afield and good local talent will have less chance to prove itself in a more testing environment.

Coventry’s partnership with Broadstreet no longer seems as strong as it was back in September and with the Binley side agreeing to allow Wasps use of the Ivor Preece ground as a training base from June, it looks like they could be heading in different directions before too long. Whilst this might well be just a temporary parting of the waves, it would seem to me that Broadstreet would rather have the Premiership side as their bedfellows than they would Cov.

And who can blame then?

Broadstreet don’t seem to have prospered greatly as a result of the loan of players from Coventry and indeed it seems to have disrupted their selection process at times this season, particularly in the front row.

However, the benefits from ‘Street’s relationship with Wasps is already evident, with a new all-weather training area and other temporary structures being just some of the more immediate advantages.

Rowland Winter made it clear in his first interview in the Coventry Telegraph after the announcement of his appointment was made public that:

In terms of our own link with Broadstreet, they have been very good to us, I think the link has worked both ways and we’re keen to keep that and keep the opportunity for players to pick up game time there.

In terms of a training centre, it’s a completely different conversation but the fact that Wasps are there doesn’t affect anything in terms of Coventry training there and, if anything, it will strengthen the whole link between a Premiership club, a top end National One club and Broadstreet who are hoping to stay in National Two

Does Broadstreet’s relegation now mean that the opportunity for players to ‘pick up game time there’ is now gone? It certainly does nothing to strengthen the link between Wasps, Coventry and Broadstreet, so perhaps further plans to work closely with Street in terms of player exchanges and additional coaching opportunities have now been scuppered somewhat.

Indeed, if I understand the situation correctly, Coventry have already moved their midweek training sessions back to The Butts – which, strangely, has coincided with an improvement in results.

Looking again at Rowland Winter’s comments, I think I’ve actually read them differently second time around. The fact that the training centre issue is a ‘completely different conversation’  to Coventry players playing for ‘Street might suggest that the use of the Binley Woods facilities is not a long term solution for Coventry at all.

Although he states that Wasp’s presence (presumably in the daytime given they are a full-time squad) won’t affect Coventry’s training there (which is in the evening), the real conversation is perhaps about Coventry finding their own training ground, independent of either Wasps or Broadstreet.

How many other clubs in National 1 share have to use a junior clubs training ground every week…I’m guessing very few, but in truth I don’t have any idea? But if Coventry are going to become a fully professional side in the next couple of years, they will surely want, and need, to have their own facilities?

I’ve really enjoyed my pre-season visits to Broadstreet; they’re an extremely hospitable and welcoming club who don’t seem to have always benefitted from the partnership with Coventry to quite the extent we have.

I really hope to see them back in League 2 North the season after next and will follow their progress towards that goal with genuine interest.

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

Many stories relating to Dave Addleton will be retold over the coming day’s to coincide with his departure from the club he has been with for over 22 years.

The word ‘legend’ is over-used but seldom in sporting terms is its use more justified than when referring to Aggy. If we take the word legend to mean ‘an extremely famous person, especially in a particular field’ then here aren’t too many more famous or devoted servants of Coventry RFC than Dave Addleton, at least during the time I’ve supported Cov.

He is truly a legend.

George Cole, Peter Rossborough, Jim Broderick, Harry Walker  spring to mind, although there are of course others.

But for me, Dave Addleton is probably the greatest alongside Rossborough. Not only did he successfully represent Coventry during three decades, he has also been part of the management structure for the last 11 years, principally as  a forwards’ coach but also as a temporary Head Coach on two occasions.

As a player, one of the clearest memories I still have of him is from a game he played against Rotherham in during his final season. Aggy had been on the bench but had been called into action early on…the extract below is taken from 13th January 2005 edition of ‘The Telegraph’ no less, the national paper, not the local one!!!:

Unhappy hooker

Dave Addleton, Coventry’s veteran hooker, is facing the prospect of having the only hat-trick of his career expunged from the record books. Addleton had scored only 21 tries in 15 years before the start of the season, but he crossed three times in the first half after he came on as a substitute in the 22-15 win over Rotherham in October.

Coventry were subsequently deducted the match points by First Division Rugby after uncontested scrums were awarded for the final quarter of the game even though Coventry had two unused specialist front row forwards on their substitutes’ bench.

Coventry’s final appeal against FDR’s decision will be heard by an RFU competitions panel on Monday but if they fail, the match score will be reduced to 0-0 and Addleton’s hat-trick will be struck from the records.

‘I don’t score many tries,’ he said, ‘ but it would be just my luck if I was to lose my only hat-trick,” said Addleton, 38, who has announced plans to retire at the end of the season’.

The game was reduced to something of a farce by the end, although Cov appealed against the decision to remove the win from the records, it was turned down.

I’m not sure if it was in this game or another Rotherham home fixture, but quite a brouhaha broke out when one of the Rotherham officials was accused of being miked up to one of the players…for a while games between the two teams became quite feisty affairs!

In all, Dave Addleton played 354 games for Coventry which puts him 8th in the all time list of Coventry appearances behind such esteemed names as:

George Cole, whose 448 appearances remain a club record, Phil Judd (442), Jim Broderick (386), Ricky Melville (386), Tony Gulliver (381) – the last player before Aggy to reach the mark, in the 1993-94 season – Peter Rossborough (368) and Steve Wilkes (366)…

In a John Wilkinson article in the Coventry Telegraph of 8th January 2005 (perhaps JW and John Butler should be added to those previously mentioned as Coventry legends?), Aggy spoke of the enjoyment he’d had from the game:

I’ve had a good stint. Everyone keeps making banter about my age, and although I’ll settle for a broken jaw as the worst injury I’ve had in 15 years, I’ve had a few knocks along the way. It’s time for the younger lads to take over.

Away from the club I’ve played for the Barbarians, Irish Exiles, and for the Midlands against South Africa and Argentina, so I can’t complain.

Ironically, in his last game in a Coventry shirt he broke a rib whilst scoring a try against Bedford.

He will be a massive lost to the club, if not as a coach then certainly as a symbol of that never-say-die, bellicose, tenacious and pugnacious (!) attitude he possesses.

He is the epitome of the ‘Cov dog’, someone the crowd loved to watch and the opposition hated to play against. Whether in their faces or napping at their heels, Aggy was never far from the action – the clip of him in an earlier post  exchanging  a few words with Dean Ryan in the Newcastle game demonstrates that perfectly.

I’m delighted he’s got something sorted before he leaves us…I wish both he and Rugby all the very best in the coming seasons.

 

2 replies »

  1. I couldn’t agree more in respect of your comments about Aggie, Tim. May I add the word “pugnacious” to your description of his qualities?

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