Benches, boots, burgers and bums on seats…
I thought Rowland Winter’s comments after the game on Saturday summed up pretty succinctly what most of supporters must have felt…
It was tough to take..
…they’ve done themselves proud in terms of their effort and attitude and pushed Hartpury all the way
He must have felt as disappointed and frustrated (an understatement for sure) as anyone after last week and doubtless it was an anxious week for the coaches as they waited to see what the response from the players would be. And although we lost, in the end RW must have been pleased with the way the players answered some of the questions asked of them after the Blackheath game.
RW rightly acknowledged that:
We haven’t necessarily taken all the chances we’ve created…
and there is a:
‘good baseline to take forward’.
This week, then, should be a much happier one in the Coventry camp and if the players continue to respond in the same way as they did last week, Cov should go into the Esher game in good heart.
Just in passing, a couple of other comments on the Hartpury game that I didn’t include in the original post:-
I thought the coaches got it pretty much spot on with the bench on Saturday…having started with Harry, MacBurnie and Brown in the first half, RW was able to bring on Dyer, Stankovich and Knox, all of whom might have expected to start and all of whom added to the overall strength of the team – and it’s not often that the team is that much stronger with the replacements than it is without them.
Matt Price for Scott Tolmie, or vice versa, is a standard swap so I haven’t included Matt in the above.
Having the replacements come on earlier rather than later meant they all had time to make an impact and I can’t help but feel their inclusion into the fray was a factor in Coventry’s improved performance in the second half.
Last season, with the odd exception, I don’t think the bench had anything like the same strength in depth and as conditions get wetter and heavier and legs get more and more tired, the use of replacements of the quality of those we saw on Saturday could make a significant difference to the outcome of a game.
Secondly, I really liked the new strips, both home and away. I thought it was a canny move to get the players to warm up in the away strip and play in the home one, allowing as it did spectators to see both, especially as the vast majority of supporters don’t travel (although Cov away support is as good as most teams in the league, if not better – and certainly more vocal).
As a result, those who might not normally get to see the away strip being worn might now be tempted to order it and that can only be good for the club (and the suppliers!). Hopefully, though, the tops made available to the supporters will be a little more forgiving!
And a final comment about the game – it was such a marvellous spectacle and a great advert for National 1 rugby. Yes we lost, but if we’re talking about Cov offering a good product to its paying customers, then they certainly did us proud against Hartpury. The game had lots of twists and turns, especially in the second half, and whilst it wasn’t always pretty, it was always compelling.
A great effort from all concerned.
Has anyone else notice the preponderance of coloured boots being worn by the players these days?
It was most evident when the players lined up for the minute’s silence prior to the start of the game…there was a veritable rainbow of colours on show.
With concerns being again expressed about the visibility of the numbers on the players’ shirts, maybe the club could print an image of each player’s boots against the appropriate name in the programme – they are extremely easy to spot and provide those with less than 20/20 vision an alternative way of recognising individuals within the team.
To show you what I mean, look at the picture below and see how many players you can recognise simply by the colour of their footwear.
White seems to be a particularly standout colour – as does the red. Not sure about the orangey pink ones – I wonder who would be brave enough to wear those???
If you want to check your answers, go to the front page of this blog – the header is the original photo from which the above was cropped. If you got 5 I’d be more than impressed!
Burger Watch 1 – Coventry RFC (***)
I’d not partaken of the club’s catering facilities for some time now… we’re talking a couple of seasons at least. I usual grab something to eat at Istanbul’s (Istanbul restaurant 17 Butts ) or, in one of my healthier moments (far too short-lived and infrequent I’m afraid), I’ll go for a less artery-clogging option in the city centre.
So I was interested to see how the fare offered by Cov compared to that of the local take-away…
sadly, not that favourably.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that it was unpalatable and at over a pound cheaper (just £3.50), including the fries, it was reasonable value. But in terms of taste, well it was all a bit bland and insipid.
I realise I risk being excommunicated here, and after this review I probably won’t be setting foot in the clubhouse for a while, but if ‘Burger Watch’ is to prove loyal to its readers, then I have to be honest in my comments.
I decided to go for a plain burger and chips. A big bun, a decent sized burger and a good portion of chips and reasonably priced, too. So far, so good. But it kind of went downhill from there really.
The burgers are cooked in the kitchens and kept warm to be sold in the clubhouse. And there’s the problem – because they aren’t cooked in situ, they aren’t hot and have lost some of the juices that add so much to the flavour. There’s nothing to compare with the fat from a freshly cooked burger dribbling down your chin as you take that first bite…
At Blackheath last week, the burgers were cooked to order on a small grilling plate whilst you wait and so you ate them piping hot…which is far more preferable. As a result the burger had a stronger, more beefy flavour.
The fries weren’t particularly warm either, but were well cooked and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and weren’t overly salty at all and you got a good portion considering the price.
There was no wait and the ladies serving did so quickly and efficiently. The burger filled a gap, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations, although I don’t think they’ll be many in the grounds we visit that will offer the same value for money. Fine if you’re hungry and worth the price, but I’m sure there will be others that offer more taste.
Fast food, convenient, good value for money but I’m not sure where this would end up in a league table of National 1 burgers…out of the relegation zone, but probably mid-table perhaps?
I’m surprised Corey Hircock hasn’t been insisting on the club offering a choice of salads and pasta on match days – one or two of us could do with a bit of nutritional guidance…
I did wonder last week as to whether there was a correlation between the amount of activity on the Messageboard and the size of the crowd at the game – little activity = smaller crowd.
In the run up to the game the board went quiet with no comments, and therefore no discussion, about the team or what people were expecting from the game itself. Silence pervaded the board. And in the end my theory proved right, at least on this occasion.
On Saturday the game attracted just 955, a drop of more than 12% on the attendance for the Macclesfield game. Even in my most pessimistic of moods, I thought we’d get 1100+, so 955 was a real shock. Hopefully, with the increased emphasis on using the ground for functions, business opportunities for local firms, conferencing, banqueting and so on and despite the falling receipts from games, Coventry will still be able to continue with the programme of expansion that they are currently undertaking – but it must still be a concern.
I’m not sure what the answer to falling attendances is, or in indeed the cause, but it’s something the club will want to reverse pretty quickly. It’s probably too simplistic just to explain the decrease away by Wasps’ presence across the other side of the city, although I’m sure it is a factor, especially as this is the second season running that gates have been in decline. And despite Coventry’s attendance falling sharply, and against the league leaders as well, we were still the best attended game in National 1.
The current economic climate, the success of the team, alternative entertainment in and around the city, less provision for the family at Cov than Wasps, value for money; all must be part of the problem and by definition part of the solution, too. There are plenty of suggestions floating around the ether of ways falling attendances could be addressed, indeed I spent some time last season doing just that in the blog…but the reality is that we aren’t going to get back to the 2000+ that we saw in 2014/15 without first gaining promotion or, at the very least, ensuring we get ourselves into a promotion race.
However, that’s not to say that we can’t attract more people to the BPA in the meantime and once there, keep them there.
Success, both on and off the pitch, breeds success…
Let’s start with a win on Saturday.