If you wake up and don’t want to smile
If it takes just a little while
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You’ll see things in a different way.
Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop
I never used to like Fleetwood Mac.
Not enough safety pins and mohicans about them when I was really into my music back in the day.
Although to be fair, any group including the gorgeous Stevie Nicks is well worth a listen…and in my defence, I have grown more middle of the road with age.
And of all their many hits, perhaps ‘Don’t Stop’ is the most apposite given the situation Cov finds itself in at the moment. I’d tentatively suggest it be adopted amongst as anthem amongst those Cov supporters who at the moment are flying the flag in the genuine belief that better times, whilst not yet just around the corner, aren’t too far away either.
With so much change taking place, change that is designed to give the club the solid foundations on which to ultimately launch a sustained challenge for Championship rugby, the lyrics ‘Don’t Stop’ are particularly apt…
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
Yesterday has indeed gone, as has last weekend, and it’s time to concentrate on the next game in Coventry’s journey out of this league.
Onwards and upwards.
One of the things I neglected to include in yesterday’s post was Rowland Winter’s partial explanation as to why his teams hadn’t performed well away from home. Whilst acknowledging that Coventry hadn’t got the tactics right at both Blackheath and Esher and had been outplayed by both teams, he also felt his players weren’t dealing well with playing away from the BPA.
With a noisy, passionate and vocal Cov crowd, the players have been carried along by the atmosphere of what is the largest, and arguably the most passionate, support in the league. Playing in front of much smaller crowds, Coventry hasn’t responded well to the lack of atmosphere, despite the fantastic away support, something that is a concern.
I can understand where he’s coming from…there are some big time players in the Cov team, players who have played at a higher level than National 1, including on the international scene. I can I only imagine how it must seem to them, playing in front of the metaphorical one man and his dog. There are players in any sport who respond better to the bigger occasion.
However, good players are good whatever the circumstances, so it should be difficult to motivate yourself whoever you’re playing against. It’s at precisely such moments when those big time players come to the fore and lead by example. But that has yet to happen. It needs someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck and exert his influence on it and the opposition, whilst carrying his team mates along with him.
That said, at the moment the squad is still very much in its infancy and the players who need to step up to the plate and make their mark when a change is needed haven’t yet found their voice. Whilst there is a captain on the pitch, there are also the game changers too and as of now, we haven’t really seen anyone put in a performance that has changed the course of a game, or produced a passage of play that has influenced a result.
Four of the matches we have already played have been won or lost by big margins, but the other two, Moseley and Hartpury, were both games where just one score could have turned a defeat into a victory. These are the games where you hope before too long somebody can produce that moment of inspiration, of pure quality, that will affect the final outcome.
Players like James Stokes have that star quality, the ability to change the course of the game at any moment. The pack, too, should be having a greater influence on the outcome of a game than it presently is, given the dominance it has in the set pieces (although not necessarily in other areas of the game?). We know that the likes of Knox, Rundle and Trimble are all capable of producing that one spark of magic that will make the difference in a tight game, even Jubb and Dyer, too. There are others, I’m sure, although we have yet to see that for ourselves.
At the moment, it just isn’t happening for any of them, but we all know that there are players in the team capable of creating something from nothing, the outcome of which will change a game’s momentum.
Hopefully, Coventry won’t need such a moment on Saturday because they’ll dominate Fylde from the start but if and when it is needed, I wonder who the player will be who’ll seize the initiative and be the one to make the difference…? If we are to be one of the top teams in this league, let alone challenge for promotion, then we’ll need such players.
I think what supporters who went down to the Esher game probably want to see above all else is a positive, more confident response to Saturday’s defeat, a display that shows that the team has learned from its mistakes. We saw such a reaction in the Hartpury game and the crowd was really lifted by such an improved performance following our disappointing visit to Blackheath. The signs were certainly encouraging against a team that clearly is the best in the league at the moment.
But then we travelled to Esher – two steps forward and another back.
There was an obvious intensity to the training on Tuesday night and I’m sure the coaches will have been pleased from the response they got from the players. However, it’s one thing to produce it in training and quite another to do so in a league game against strong opposition, which is what Fylde will be.
There have been one or two dissenting voices this week amongst supporters, although they aren’t loud and by and large they aren’t being listened to…but a Blackheath or Esher performance at home, well that’s an entirely different proposition. The players need to get out and perform from the first whistle on Saturday. If Fylde are true to form, we know exactly how they’ll play which is very similar in approach to the game plan we used pre-season and against Macclesfield and Loughborough.
Fylde are extremely dangerous with ball in hand and we have been susceptible to teams running at us in space. However, if Cov can prevent Fylde from making good use of their possession as Rowland Winter explained on Tuesday, the visitors will leave plenty more room for Coventry to exploit than did the likes of Moseley, Hartpury and Blackheath. (It was there in the Esher game, I think, but we just weren’t able to make use of it).
That’s why it could be such an entertaining game – two sides keen to attack and both with defensive frailties. I can’t help but feel which ever team is better at closing the opposition down and strangling the opportunities to run the ball is going to come out on top.
It all about Coventry’s response to the loss last week and some of the criticism levelled at the club in the days following…it’s about self-belief and confidence. This is the best squad we’ve had since we’ve been in National 1…all they need to do is perform as if it is.
C for confidence…
I don’t believe the players won’t be letting anyone down on Saturday, least of all themselves.
Having seen them train on Tuesday…
…it’s now Cov by 15 points.
Thought I’d just add a welcome to the three new Wasps players joining Cov for the next three weeks before returning to Wasps for the LV Cup – Owain James, Tom Howe and Jack Willis
As for the previous post detailing the full Coventry squad (Getting to know you…), clicking on the name of the player will take you to an article that will provide you with some background about him.
Good luck to all three of them, somehow I think we’ll be seeing one or two of them playing regularly in the Premiership and beyond before too long…
…and a whole lot sooner in a Cov shirt.
Burger Watch (****1/2)
Sad to say, not only did Esher comprehensively beat us out on the pitch last weekend, they also took the points off it as well.
Esher’s burger was the best so far…and by a distance.
Cooked whilst you waited, it had a much more of a flame grilled taste to it and the bun, toasted slightly, added to the gourmet look.
I went for the cheeseburger, which at £3.50 was the same price as the Coventry entry, but whereas the Coventry burger came with chips, this one didn’t. But that didn’t detract at all from Esher’s offering and although Coventry’s provided better value for money, last Saturday’s was altogether a better fare.
Even without the chips.
Whereas the Coventry burger looked as if it had been frozen and thawed before being cooked, the meat in the Esher burger was clearly fresh and contained far more juices which sizzled and flared on the grill. I guess a minor grumble was that by the time the burger had been cooked, it’s size had reduced somewhat and it certainly meant that the bun was nowhere near filled.
But that taste….fresh, meaty and wholesome!
And yes, there is more of a wait whilst it’s cooking, but watching your burger on the grill is mesmeric and the smell just makes the anticipation that much stronger and the first bite all the more enjoyable for it.
For me, a burger cooked on a charcoal grill while you wait is, more often than not, going to take the prize and that’s certainly the case here.
More expensive thnt Cov’s but certainly more tasty.
Best Burgers 2016
1. Esher RFC- ****1/2
2. Blackheath RFC – **** (no burger report)
3. Coventry – RFC – ***
And here’s Fleetwood Mac performing ‘Don’t Stop’…outrageous entertainment