Club talk

Moving up, moving on, mascots and man of the match…

I’m moving on like a ship sailing windblown
Who can say where the rainbow may be found
Take my chance and I’ll sail to tomorrow
April moon can you tell me where I’m bound

I’m moving on from this place of confusion
It’s goodbye to trouble I’m leaving behind
In my life no more grieving or sorrow
Won’t allow darkness my soul to define

The Zombies – Moving On

(Make sure you scroll down to the end!)

The win on Saturday has moved us up to 8th.

Okay, on paper that doesn’t read too well, but we’re only 11 points off second place and with a decent run behind us over the next few games, well  a top three or four spot by Christmas isn’t off the cards…if you’ll excuse the pun.

And yes, I know that’s me getting ahead of myself.

Who can say where the rainbow may be found
Take my chance and I’ll sail to tomorrow
April moon can you tell me where I’m bound

Let’s take our chance and see what April brings…

Home form has remained good all season, and even the loss to Hartpury was one of Cov’s better performances. If we can maintain that and pick off some teams on our travels then we’re certainly going to climb the league, especially as only 6 points separate us and Plymouth in 4th – and we’ve the opportunity to claw 5 of those back in just 5 days time, depending on other results, of course.

With  seven games of the season gone, I appreciate it’s a little early to be making such predictions, but the importance of a couple of wins in the coming weeks can’t be understated.

And had we lost, then we would have been just one place above the bottom three…

…and that wouldn’t have made for a happy week ahead.

As it is, here I am talking about moving up the table  with a real belief that Plymouth are a team we not only need to be beating at home, they are a team that we are more than capable of beating at home given the improvements we saw against Fylde.

And in the last match prior to losing to Cov, whom did Fylde beat?

…yep…

Plymouth Albion at home, 39-37.

Plymouth had a great win this weekend at  The Brickfields, against a Darlington side that has made an extremely good start to the season (with ex-Cov player Caolan Ryan their leading points scorer) – two results that show just how unpredictable this league is. And for that reason alone, a run of 3 or 4 wins would take us well up the league, competing with the sides in the top 3 or 4, other than Hartpury who at the moment are running away with the league, some 18 points ahead of us already.

Hopefully, I’ll get over to watch Cov train again later in the week.  After this weekend, I’m sure the mood in the Cov camp won’t be anything but upbeat and positive. In the CWR interview immediately after the game, Richard Moon asked Rowland Winter  what it was that had brought about the transformation (or Rowland Wynter as it’s spelt on their website – that made me feel feel so much better, I do so hope he made them suffer for it too! ;))

Quick as a flash, RW pointed out that there has been no transformation; our home form has always been good. And that’s true, despite the Hartpury defeat. I think I’d fallen into the same trap as RM; because we’d had three consecutive losses I’d failed to take into account that in one of them there had been some really encouraging signs. I think that whereas spectators look at things retrospectively. RW is very much looking forwards and assessing where we are now in relation to where we need to be. And that’s going to make him far more optimistic because he can focus on the positives whilst we tend to dwell on the negatives.

I also think there’s a misunderstanding about his initial comments on the 5 mini-leagues of six games that he’s broken the season into. It’s not so much where we are in that particular table at any point during the six week block, it’s  much more about analysing the skills, the ‘what’s going well’ and the ‘what needs improving’ in the six week phase you’re currently in and then focusing on the ‘needs improvings’ in training over the next period of six weeks. Where we are at the end of the six weeks in terms of position is far less relevant…hence the chop tackles in this set of six games.

Or at least that’s how I interpreted what RW’s said when I’ve chatted to him…

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

harry-randall

Rising star – Harry Randall

In yesterday’s post I made mention of Harry Randall, the young Hartpury College DR scrum half who caused Cov so much damage when they visited us back in early October; coincidentally there’s a brief article on him in this week’s The Rugby Paper.

At just 18 he’s looking to play for Gloucester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and credits much of his recent success to Greig Laidlaw, hoping to fill his boots when the competition begins in a couple of weeks.

The article goes on to suggest that:

 

Last week’s news that Laidlaw will leave Gloucester for Clermont Auvergne at the end of the season could open a door for Randall

It goes back to what I mentioned yesterday. Randall’s place in the Hartpury side has been good for both Hartpury and, by the look of it, Gloucester too. It’s a win/win for both sides. And that’s why I think we should be welcoming the addition of a small number of Academy players from Wasps, Northampton or any other Premiership club for that matter. If there are positions in our squad that need short term cover it makes sense to me.

Good luck to Harry as he moves further up the ladder of success…hopefully, he’ll get his chance with Gloucester sooner rather than later, not that I’m in anyway hoping it might also weaken Hartpury somewhat.

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

I thought the atmosphere at Cov on Saturday was much improved on that of recent weeks. I did feel it had fallen a bit flat in some of the previous games, but after a quiet start supporters found their voice and there was a real buzz about the place come the end of the game.

I’m usually a reasonable judge of the size of the crowd at home games, after 11 seasons of watching  Cov at the BPA you get a pretty good idea of what 1000 looks like. I have to say I was really surprised when the announcement came over the PA that it was just 975 – it seemed at least a couple of hundred more than that.

There were good numbers opposite the main stand and at the railway end and the stand itself didn’t seem to have the gaps that appear when the crowd is a relatively small one as the video of Andy Brown’s try shows. John Butler rightly alluded to the fact that  975 was a decent number given Wasps’ game against Zebre had kicked off at 1.00 pm (watched by a crowd of over 10, 700), and suggests that attendances have perhaps bottomed out now.

And whilst an attendance of 975 is low for Coventry, it was some 196 more than the next best of 759 at Plymouth Albion, with Rosslyn Park trailing well behind in third place with 572. It seems that gates are well down for many of the National 1 clubs this year, perhaps a sign of an increasingly difficult economic climate as much as anything. The fact that Plymouth are nowhere near their 2015/16 average so far this season would indicate that actually Wasps’ arrival in the city hasn’t made quite the difference on the average gate for Cov that I, and others, have suggested might be the case. It’s something all clubs are having to cope with.

975 then.

It’s okay, but still not great. Fortunately, I’m sure if Cov continue to play the attractive brand of rugby that we witnessed on Saturday, then word will spread and the numbers will begin to return.

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

img_0768

Cov’s mascot yesterday before the start of the game.

I know that mention has been made elsewhere of the disgraceful behaviour of a ‘supporter’ who twice tackled the club mascot, the second time seeming to result in the chap in the costume banging his head on the hard walkway in front of the main stand. He would have had no warning he was going to be knocked to the ground, so was unable to protect himself.

The stewards acted quickly and the person concerned was ejected, clearly thinking the whole incident amusing and with absolutely no sign of contrition. It looked to be alcohol fuelled and there was certainly no encouragement given to him by the rest of the crowd who quite rightly took umbrage at his behaviour.

I understand that the Supporters’ Club are going to make contact via the club with the gentleman who fell victim to the abuse on behalf of its members and I’m sure the club will do likewise. As the photo shows, the mascot is, and always has been, a very popular part of the match day experience and those who don the garb do so for no other reward than the pleasure it brings to others. That this gentleman should be treated so poorly is a sad indictment of the immaturity of a very, very small minority of those who attend sporting venues the length and breadth of the country.

It’s not behaviour we associate with Coventry Rugby Club and I’m sure it’s not something we’ll see again if the club has its way. It’s one of the potential problems of encouraging a wider audience into the ground which is something we have to do if we are to increase attendances…

Such incidents are very rare and the family feel to Cov remains intact…

If the chap who wore the suit does get to read this, I do hope he’ll return to the Butts, suited or otherwise. I’m sure we’ll give him a warm welcome…

Whatever happens, he mustn’t pack his trunk and leave.

 

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

Yesterday I forgot to ask those who attended the game on Saturday and but haven’t yet voted for their MoM to do so…

…so it you haven’t yet, please do.

I’ll close the poll at the end of the day and announce the result tomorrow.

So far almost 100 people have voted which is encouraging given so many of the readers of the blog ltve away from Cov, but I thought I’d just repeat the details below in case you’d like to be involved and haven’t yet got round to voting, or you’ve missed the post completely.

All you need to do is click on the circle next to the player who is your man of the match. The software only allows one vote, although you can change your mind provided you do so before clicking on the ‘Vote’ button.

So if you did go to the game, please do vote.  The more people who participate, the more accurate an indication of what most supporters felt it is.

Many thanks,

Tim

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

Class…

The Zombies – ‘Moving On’.

2015 and still got it..

Never in doubt.

 

 

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