Experiment…a formula for success

The apple on the top of the tree
Is never too high to achieve
So take an example from Eve
Experiment, be curious
Though interfering friends may frown
Get furious at each attempt to hold you down
If this advice you only employ
The future can offer you infinite joy and merriment

Tony Bennett – Experiment


I’m looking forward to this one…!

Although that does imply I hadn’t been looking forward to the previous games quite as much…which isn’t the case at all.

It’s just that, for me, this is a very different pre-season game to the others, one that harks back to an era in Coventry’s proud history well before the advent of national league rugby.  In such times, Coventry would play several of these Anglo-Welsh fixtures during the course of a season and they were always amongst the most eagerly anticipated games – and the best attended.

They were hard, tough, bruising encounters and there were always bragging rights at stake. Invariably there were occasions during most games when players’ tempers got the better of them and had referees had use of cards back then, few games would have finished 15-a-side and ‘sin bins’ would have needed additional chairs ‘in order to accommodate the numbers of players given their marching orders.

Whenever Cov play a team from the principality, I still get that same sense of excitement that I felt back in the 70s –  It must have been akin to watching gladiators do battle in the coliseum 2000 years ago, only with a little more blood.

It’s not something that will mean anything to the players, of course, nor to most of the supporters, but it just gives today’s game an added ‘frisson’ to those of us of a certain age….

It’s the same with the Cov v Moseley fixtures of old, although of course far more supporters will have experienced the special atmosphere the teams generate when they play each other.

I guess Matt Price, Scott Tolmie and Callum MacBurnie will be more aware of the old rivalry than most in the current squad, (Scot and Callum having played for Moseley in a previous life and Matt, being Coventry’s longest serving player, will  be only too aware of the significance attached to the local derby), although I don’t think anyone in the squad will have taken part in a Cov v Mose game, given the last one was back in the 2009/10 season. The renewal of theses two old rivals will be something special this year, especially at The Butts where a large crowd could have the place rocking once again.

Back to the Newport game though…

Cov must look to continue to build on the progress they’ve made over the last couple of games, striving to maintain their discipline which has been such an impressive feature of the last couple of games. Newport will bring with them a physicality as great as anything this squad has experienced so far and the test for Cov will be how they react to this…when we’ve been under pressure in the last two games we’ve always managed to regroup and create long passages of play where we’re in control of the game and that’s something I’ll be hoping for again later today.

The coaches continue to look at combinations of players both in the backs and forwards, prior to announcing their first squad for the National 1 opener in less than two weeks time. The likes of Rob Knox and Olly Povoas have an opportunity to make a statement out on the pitch today, sending a message to the coaches, as well as to the other players, that there is real competition for places with absolutely no room for complacency in this squad.

Rowland Winter and the coaches continue to experiment in key positions in order to get the right combinations of players in the right areas:

The apple on the top of the tree
Is never too high to achieve
So take an example from Eve
Experiment, be curious

For both Rob and Olly, I guess the formula for success is:

trial and no error = a place in the match day squad

I’m sure the coaches will find there are a fair few ‘interfering friends’ who all have their own thoughts on just who should be in that starting line-up for the Loughborough  Students game, (myself included!) – fortunately, though, it’s not us who make the decisions.


Our inability to make something of the chances we’re creating at the moment is a little frustrating, although in Ealing Trailfinders and Jersey Reds we’ve played two teams who, on paper at least, will be stronger than anything else we’ll face this season. The defences we come up against in National 1 are unlikely to be quite so well organised and resilient, and I’m sure the experiences we’ve gained from the friendlies will also have enabled us to tighten up our own defences, too.

With the league starting in just two weeks time, it’s really important that we avoid picking up any serious injuries in the next couple of games.

No one else seems to have commented on Coventry’s current fitness levels…so I might well be wide of the mark here, but players look fitter than at a similar stage of the pre-season in other years. I’m sure this is one of the reasons why we seem to have picked up fewer injuries; the additional training sessions and increased monitoring of fitness levels are perhaps making a difference already. With a number of the squad now full-time, you’d hope that over the course of a season this will give us a significant advantage over most clubs in our league, especially when the wet weather kicks in an pitches become that much heavier.

Here’s to an entertaining afternoon’s rugby…

I’ll tweet scores from the game if there’s any interest, so please let me know if you’d like updates either in the comment box below or via Twitter on @CowshedTim. All being well, I’ll also post some pre-match photos after the game.

Good luck to everyone involved in today’s game…let’s hope a few more of the pieces come together today and the coaches are left with far more answers than they are questions…












3 thoughts on “Experiment…a formula for success

  1. hi tim thanks for match updates sounds like boys did good.managed to escape pub having been tortured with food and beer.looking forward to first game and be up for Saturdays games

  2. Hi Keith – missed a good’un. Not the finished article by any means, but moving towards where we need to be…being trapped in a pub in Yorkshire isn’t a bad alternative though!

  3. Hi tim would appreciate updates on today’s match as I’m trapped in a pub in yokshire.bad planning😀

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