Sick as a parrot over a game of two halves…

Third in the table, 19 tries scored in just three games and four points behind the leaders Hartpury who we play at home in two weeks time, with more points scored and with a better points difference than any other team in the league. In any other season I think I’d be getting way too ahead of myself.

When you’re not used to your team enjoying too much on-field success, then you try and make the most of anything that comes your way and just now there’s a fair bit to grasp hold of.

But with Rowland Winter at the helm, then getting carried away too quickly with Cov’s successes isn’t something that is likely to happen.

Ever the realist, his post match interview for the Coventry Telegraph was a stark reminder that actually there was plenty to be concerned about despite the convincing scoreline and apparent ease with which Cov brushed their opponents aside in the first half.

From over 5000 miles away and relying simply on Sam’s comprehensive running commentary of the game (thanks, Sam), it certainly seemed to follow  the pattern of football’s all-too-clichéd ‘game of two halves’…and by the end of the game I was left feeling as sick as any rugby-loving parrot that had just watched its team surrender the initiative in quite the way Cov did during that second 40 minutes.

Once again, I clearly can’t comment on the game itself, but with Hartpury at home, sandwiched between away trips to Blackheath and Esher, Coventry simply won’t be able to produce such a curate’s egg of a performance in any of those three games. We have yet to see an ’80 minute’ performance from Cov but when we do, some team is going to suffer. Big time.

Roland Winter’s comments after the game tell us that he’s far from happy at the moment and Coventry are a long way away from where he wants them to be at this stage of the season. Even when asked to talk about the positives, his responses focused on the concerns. He was still very much ‘in the zone’, interviewed as he was just after the game; I’m not altogether sure I would have liked to have been party to his comments to the players come the final whistle.

It was a really interesting interview and to me it suggested just how driven and committed RW is…some great tries scored, some champagne moments but that close to the end of the game it was still very much about the week ahead and what needs to be done in order to be ready to face the greater challenges that Blackheath are sure to offer. There was certainly a harder, tougher edge to what he had to say than we’ve seen publiclyup to now – a side probably reserved for more for the dressing room than it is for the cameras. Reassuring, too. There are always times when some tough talking needs to be done.

Come the end of the game yesterday was clearly one such occasion.

It’s probably worth remembering that despite all the rugby we’ve seen under the new management, all ten games worth, we have yet to witness a win away from home, so it’s small wonder that RW is concerned about Cov’s inability to give a complete performance over both halves. It’s something that needs addressing as we come into a run of three tough games and I’m sure it will be a focus during the build up to next Saturdays visit to Rectory Field. That said, Cov responded well  to the pressure Moseley put us under after the first 15 or 20 minutes, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too worried provided Cov don’t do what they did at Billesley and concede early points and end up chasing the game.

Having been a little critical last week of Coventry’s failure to move with the times and provide updates of the score via social media, full marks to the club for doing so via Twitter on Saturday. I know there were a number of supporters who were following Cov’s progress via the club’s official Twitter account and with Cov playing away from the BPA next weekend, it will be even more appreciated. Certainly another tick in the plus column…

Indeed, waking up as I did this morning and being able to quickly access a couple of clips of the tries scored by Knox and Dyer, together with Rowland Winter’ video interview and two full reports on the game, one by John WIlkinson for the Coventry Telegraph and one by John Butler for the club’s own website, just reinforced how much information is being made available to supporters this season. Certainly no moans from me at all and having spend a couple of weeks away, it’s reinforced just how much easier it is to get a hold on what’s happening at the BPA this season. Long may it continue.

I’m really looking forward to the Blackheath game…I might even try and get down to training this week to get a quick fix before Saturday. It’s early days and as a supporter of some years I should know better than to get over excited about what we’re seeing happen at Cov at the moment. But it’s hard not to get seduced by some of the rugby Coventry have been playing of late, albeit not quite consistently as we’d like.  We’ve played just three games and beaten two of the sides we’d expect to struggle a little this season and lost to the one team who should be in the mix come April, so common sense should be saying this is little more than a satisfactory start to the season thus far.

But the manner of the wins and, indeed, of the loss, suggests so much more. This is the first season in years where I’m already looking at the teams above us and to see who they’ve got next weekend and working out the various win/lose permutations – for the record, Moseley face Blaydon at Billesley and Hartpury take on Fylde, also at home. It’s unhealthy and far too early to be even thinking that way, but every adult has a kid in them somewhere…

One thing  is for sure, the bonus points we continue to pick up could become extremely important later in the season. Already, we are only two points behind Moseley even though they have won all three of their games. Last season we struggled in this area but that is unlikely to be the case when you score the number of tries we presently are and even the defeat was close enough to gain us the extra point.

Hopefully, the knocks that were picked up from the Moseley game which resulted in a number of players being sidelined on Saturday won’t be serious enough to prevent Rowland WInter from selecting from pretty much a full squad next weekend. If that is the case, then there will be some interesting decisions to be made, particularly in the backs. But they are the decisions that the coaches will want to be making, no matter how tough they are.

The journey home begins tomorrow, so a last chance to enjoy the The Keys and soak up the sun before packing up and heading back to Miami tomorrow. A chance, too, to reflect on just how far Cov has come these past few months. It was the third weekend of the National 1 campaign last season when the cracks began to appear and Cov found themselves exposed – we’d just lost our first game of the season (at home against Hartpury!) and we next travelled down to Richmond where we lost again. Lots of water has flowed under several bridges since then and we are now in a much happier place with expectations higher but also more realistic.

From the RW’s point of view, Saturday’s result will have given him plenty to worry about, but from this supporter’s viewpoint it just reinforces the progress that we’ve made under the new management and it simply confirms the belief that the journey has only just begun.


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