One of the most telling statistics to come out the drawn game against Blackheath last Saturday is that it resulted in our longest unbeaten run of the season – just 4 games in total.
Not what we were expecting back in September but what we were hoping for come Christmas.
It’s been that disappointing.
Whatever the reasons for Coventry’s sudden change in fortunes, the game on Saturday becomes a game that Coventry have a good chance of winning, rather than one that a few weeks ago we would have struggled to get anything from.
Just a few weeks ago, Cov were a team that looked down and out after the Blaydon game, having won just two of the nine games since the start of the year. Now, however, Cov seem to have a renewed confidence and last weekend they were even able to claw back a 14 point deficit at half time to earn a draw against high-flying Blackheath, almost securing the winning in the final minutes of the game.
Rowland Winter’s announcement as DoR back in late January coincided with arguably Coventry’s worst form of the season and although supporters were surprised and somewhat disappointed at the his statement suggesting that their would be few players from within the current squad retained come April, in truth it wasn’t that difficult to see why the decision had been made.
Since then, there are players from last season and who aren’t on RW’s invitation list who have found something like the form that took us on that 18 game unbeaten run last season, as well as those for whom this is their first season who are starting to produce the kind of form we’d hope to see back in September.
So, here’s a hypothetical…
If you could plead the case for up to 3 (sorry to put a limit on the number but it makes it more interesting this way) of the current squad to be offered new contracts next season other than those already announced, who would they be?
I’ve included a poll so that it’s possible to compare your choices with those of other readers and thus see if there’s any general agreement.
You have up to 3 votes, although you don’t have to use them all. Just click on the in the square next to the appropriate name(s).
The choices appear randomly, so the order you see them in will be different to that of other readers.
Hope this makes sense.
Thank you in advance for taking part…I’ll publish the results in a few days time.
The team announced for the final home game of he season doesn’t contain any great surprises.
Matt Jones’ inclusion gives the team rather more options at fly half and allows Caolan Ryan to return to full back, the position that he’s looked most comfortable in and one that allows him to attack from deep should Ampthill be anything less than accurate when kicking for territorial advantage.
Hamilton took some criticism for his first half performance last week, although really the criticism was directed at the decision to play him at 10 rather than his performance. In fairness to Scott, I thought he had a good second half and made a couple of incisive forays into the opposition half to set up scoring opportunities. He has the ability to almost ghost through gaps and past players and must have been a fantastic player to watch in his prime.
With Ryan Hough recovering from the knock he took against Blackheath, his inclusion means that Peter Weightman misses the opportunity of playing in front of the home crowd for the last time.
The forwards look particularly strong, with Chad returning to the fray at the expense of Andy Brown, although I’m sure Andy well get some game time before the game is over. Tipilomu Kivalu starts…if there was a vote for the most improved player this season, then he’d probably get mine, although Thomas and Wright would also be players I’d strongly consider before making any final decision.
It is disappointing that the likes of Weightman, Evans and Hope won’t get to have their swan song. Although Wayne Evans hasn’t been the presence on the pitch that he was last season, his experience over the last couple of seasons has been invaluable and I’m sure supporters would want to show him their appreciation. Presumably his back problem continues to prevent him from playing.
Devlin Hope’s absence from the bench for the third week running remains a mystery to me and he clearly is frustrated…I’m not sure why Jake Farnworth is given preference over him…it’s one of those situations where a word of explanation from one of the coaches would help.
And then, of course, there’s Dan Rundle. On the bench and no doubt desperate for 20-30 minutes to continue his comeback. If he’s anything like he was last Saturday, he’ll have trouble staying in his seat during the first half, such will be his excitement. His smile is infectious and the crowd will be almost as charged. I just hope he gets the ball in a bit of space just so that he can remind us all of what we’ve missed this season.
As for the game itself, well the result will depend on just how motivated both sides are.
Coventry in theory have the most to prove, wanting as they will to sign of with their first win this season against one of the top four sides and to prove a point or two besides. For their part, Ampthill will want the 5 points to give them a chance of securing second place in the league, a position few would have thought likely back in August and September. It has the makings of anything but a dull end of season game.
The crowd will have its part to play, too.
If, as I hope rather than expect, supporters return to The Butts in numbers to say their farewells to many players who they won’t have the privilege of seeing in a Cov shirt again, then that will have a massive impact on the team. I’m sure it will be a close fought game and Coventry could well reverse the 31-25 defeat back in December.
Supporters will also no doubt want to say their goodbyes to all the coaches and backroom staff who are also leaving us at the end of the season. It will be an emotional day for the likes of Dave Addleton and Scott Morgan and it would be a fitting if the team could finish off the season at home with a win for them, too.
And who’s to say it wont be Dan scoring the final, winning try at The Butts this season…
Now that would certainly be something to savour…