Club talk

Hartpury – massive week, massive game…the silence looks anything but golden…and how just I can’t resist a good swank

Scott Tolmie’s assessment that this is a ‘massive week for us’ was certainly no understatement, but just who he was referring to when he used the pronoun ‘us’ is unclear. In that context it becomes an indirect object and so we don’t know if the ‘us’ refers to the players, the club itself or the club in the wider context to include the supporters as well:

This is a massive week for us, but I think everyone is quietly looking forward to it, and there’s no better way to bounce back than by beating the leaders at home.

It seems most likely that he is referring to the players themselves, especially as just before this he says:

the supporters do a great job and really help us to get through games

the ‘us’ there clearly suggesting the players.

If that is the case, then I would also venture to suggest that not only is this a ‘massive week’, it is a massive week that culminates today in a massive game for all of us and whilst it clearly is one that is very important to the players, so it is to the supporters and to the club as well.

We knew Blackheath would be a test, and a big one at that, but Hartpury’s results, together with their impressive top 2 finish last season, make this an even bigger one. And unfortunately, when given a stern examination by Blackheath last week, we were found wanting in almost every facet of the game.

And by testing Hartpury in the same way Blackheath tested us, Cov have a great opportunity to go some way to making amends for what was a very disappointing performance. A win would put us back on track and restore some of the confidence that was lost following the last Saturday’s rather ignominious defeat.

Whilst it’s pure speculation on my part, I can’t help but feel that had Cov come away with the win against Blackheath, then the attendance later today would have been up by a couple of hundred at the very least and probably by many more.

Four points behind and in 3rd place sounds as if it would make for a far more exciting game than 9 points behind and in 8th place. There’s going to be a core of 800-900 supporters who will come whatever, but to attract gates over the 1000 mark, then you’ve got to entice those supporters who venture down to the BPA as and when with a promise of flowing rugby and a belief that fortress Cov will not be breached.

Last week’s defeat makes it that much harder to believe.

Losing by 35 points in a game where we didn’t have the ball for long periods of the game, including most of the second half, isn’t going to make for a bumper crowd and bumper crowds make for increased revenue.

This might seems something of a non-sequitur, but bear with me here. From what RW said in the pre-season meetings with supporters, Cov’s salary structure better reflects that of the rest of National 1 this season, allowing Cov to invest in a coaching set-up that, over time, will give Cov a big advantage over other clubs in National 1 and hopefully in the Championship too.

And Coventry must surely be hoping for increasing gate receipts over the course of the campaign to help supplement the increased costs. And whilst the attendance for the last home game of 1089 was up 106 from the Loughborough game, a starting point of 983 wasn’t overly encouraging. Another 10% increase on the gate today would be good, but had we won last weekend we might have expected 1500 (Hartpury are the league leaders), which still is a long way away from two seasons ago when 1500 was just the average gate for the season.

Say we get 1200 – that would be 300 fewer than the 1500 I’d hoped. and 300 spectators is roughly £3000 lost in gate receipts (at an average of £10 per person by the time concessions and children are taken into account), plus probably another £1500 on consumables (programmes, food, drink). And a potential £4500 per game lost over the next 12 home games, well that mounts up.

Before anyone shoots me down in flames here, the figures are all guestimates and could be wildly out, but the point I’m trying to make is still relevant – when we lose, as well as the all the worries on the playing front as to loss of points and impact on the league table, there is also a financial implication.

With Cov signalling its intent to  eventually have a completely full-time squad, as well as develop the ground and its facilities further, then every penny counts however much you can generate in the way  of sponsorship and income from the business side of the club.

So the win tomorrow, whilst especially important on the playing front, will also have repercussions elsewhere within the club, or so it would seem to me.

Scott mentioned he felt everyone, as in players, was ‘quietly’ looking forward to the game, something that the messageboard also seems to be reflecting, quite literally…

There’s been little discussion at all over the last couple of days, and what there has been has focused on the news that the new kit has finally arrived. In the last 48 hours there has been no discussion of the game or of even the announcement of the team, this despite one or two interesting changes.

Again, I have no evidence one way or another, but I do have a sneaking suspicion that there must be a pretty strong correlation between the amount of comments/threads pertaining to a game (an indicator of the interest in it?) and the size of the crowd. It’s probably the sort of deductive reasoning that is full of inherent flaws, but I’ll put it to the test later today and see. It’s certainly one of the reasons I’m not confident that we’ll see the size of crowd that we might have hoped for two weeks ago.

I hope I’m wrong, but the silence looks like being anything but golden as far as the Cov coffers are concerned.

I do miss the pre-match discussions that sometimes take place on the board, if only because there are people on there who are far more astute when it comes to such matters than I am and whose comments I respect and whose thoughts I am genuinely interested in. I know that on one level at least, much of this blog is about me having an internal dialogue with myself about the sorts of topics that you’d chat about over a pint and a packet of pork scratchings on a Friday night if you met up with like-minded folk.

And without giving too much away about myself, my Friday night company is more reflective of the WI and garden allotments brigades these days.

And there’s a few talking points  concerning this week’s selection. RW said to traveling supporters prior to their departure on the coach from Blackheath last week that he had learned a lot about his players following that second half performance. Should the changes, therefore, be seen in the light of those comments, or are they just part of RW’s tendency to rotate his squad to allow all the players to get much needed game time?

I’m really pleased to see Sam Harry get a starting place in the back row, but Darrell Dyer has consistently impressed in the games prior to Blackheath, so for him to drop down to the bench and Eoghan Grace take over at No 8 is certainly an interesting move, although Grace played there in a pre-season I think? I like the idea of Boris coming off the bench later in the game and if Brown, Tolmie and Boulton can rough up the Hartpury front row prior to his entry into the game, it could work very much in our favour. And I’m sure Matt Price will be eager to have his say as well.

In the backs, Rob Knox’s move to the bench to allow Callum MacBurnie to start is a bit of a double edged sword for me, as it cuts both ways. In previous seasons, when Coventry has been on a decent run, Callum has always been in the side. Whilst he might not have the pace or the trickery of a Rundle, Stokes, Trimble and even a Rob Knox, he has got a great rugby brain on him and defensively he is extremely solid. I’m not sure how he’ll fare with Tony Fenner alongside him, someone whom I also really rate, but it will be another one of those ‘games within a game’ scenarios that make rugby such a fantastic sport to watch. I would love to see Callum and Rob paired up once again at some stage, but that’s probably me looking at things through rose-tinted spectacles and without Will Hurrell coming in off the should to rampage through defences! Rob look sharp in the first half last week and hopefully he’ll get the chance to come in when Hartpury’s defence is tiring and when he can do maximum damage.

Other than that, it’s hard to see what other changes could have been made. I thought Brendon Snyman might have come straight back in, especially as he’s available, but maybe there’s a policy that if you make yourself unavailable, you have to wait your turn even if you’re a coach?

The injury list seems to be shortening by the week and with Cliffie Hodgson now available and Pete White back in training, it’s like having a couple of new additions to the squad. I’m sure they’ll be given an opportunity before too long and if that is the case, then you have to feel for Rhodri Adamson who, having done a sterling job behind the scrum for the last few games, could soon find himself 3rd choice no 9 behind Grasso and White.

It should be a good contest today and I hope Cov can put on a real performance in front of the home supporters who’ll  get behind Cov from the kick off. This is a team that has the ability to beat anyone in our league, but in the two games against stronger opposition they have yet to win. Home advantage, a decent crowd and the desire to right the wrongs of last week could make life very uncomfortable for Hartpury.

Here’s hoping…

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

Being a blogger with a conscience is sometimes a bit of a burden.

Take the poll this week, for example.

I know some players are aware of the blog, one or two may even read it, so to ask readers to vote for a Cov ‘dream team’ is something that might not be appreciated in some quarters, especially by those who don’t make it into the team! But then logic says that the players will have their favourite football teams and surely they will have taken part in similar discussions, or even been part of a fantasy league competition themselves, so they’ll all have done something similar…

But you do worry…

I was relieved then to see Rowland Winter had tweeted his own Arsenal fantasy team made up of players who have played for Arsenal under Wenger. If it’s good enough for RW well…

And here’s where I made myself look really stupid…I thought I’d reply to his tweet by sending him a link to yesterday’s post (which included the results of the poll) with the message ‘Rowland Winter’s greatest Coventry XV? ;)’…only I spelt his name ‘Roland’ (and not for the first time)…his replay of ‘ Who is Roland!!?’ made me feel a bit like  the inky schoolboy caught red-handed by the teacher for failing to conjugate the present indicative of the latin verb amo – a basic schoolboy error, obviously.

I was instantly reminded of the phrase ‘no one likes a smartar!e’ and that is precisely what I’d tried to be and  I failed miserably!

That will teach me to try and be clever…

For the record though, if Rowland does get to see this post, then perhaps he should look again at his selections…Martin Keown instead of Sol Campbell?

Surely not…?

And there I go again…

Once a swanker, always a swanker…I just can’t resist it.

And Rowland did rise above my crass stupidity to add that he’d have Tony Gulliver and Ron Kempin in his starting Xv every time!

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

Not sure what happened tonight…this was only meant to be a brief posting!

Anyway, I’ll be at the game today. Hopefully, Coventry will be tweeting the scores, but if you want a little more information from the game I’ll also be tweeting regularly on @Cowshedtim , or if you aren’t familiar with Twitter, then on the homepage of this blog (www.coventryrfc.me), all the tweets will appear in real time on the far right of the page, towards the top end.

Up the Cov.

Tim

2 replies »

  1. I too had noticed how quiet the forum was during the week, personally I am very nervous about the match – but as long as the players leave it all on the pitch as they usually do I can’t have too many complaints whatever the result. However frustrated we supporters must be when the team underperforms, judging by the few players who tweeted after last weeks match they must be 10 times more frustrated – but determined to put it right both in training and in the following matches. It’s good to see players not hiding after poor results, and putting the work in to give the opposition a hiding!
    After your jet setting and missing matches recently, this week it is my turn. I will be following the match from Brum airport as we are off to the sun for a week (only one home game missed). The flight is at 5:30pm, so Cov’s result may colour what mood I am in during the flight. Cabin Crew beware.

    Like

  2. A season defining game today. If as a club their is no better time to kick forward than today. Fans have a massive job today to back/support the squad/team. Let us all get behind them today.

    Like

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