You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene
Johnny Mercer – Accentuate The Positive
Coventry v Blaydon (attendance 994)
Accentuate the positives…
78 minutes played and Coventry are winning 14-10. Despite playing the vast majority of the last 50 minutes inside their own half, Coventry have defended pretty well against an increasingly confident Blaydon side. It’s been a tight, edgy affair but the clock is ticking down and although there’s still a lot of injury time to add on, it’s beginning to seem as if Cov have done enough to win the points.
On 79 minutes, Blaydon’s Cameron Bell drives over the line in front of the posts and by the time the conversion is made, Coventry are 14-17 points down and we’re in injury time.
Panic time…or not, as the case maybe.
Accentuate the positives…
And whilst it’s agony to watch from a Cov perspective, you can’t help but feel that Blaydon deserve something from the game.
Against Plymouth Albion, Coventry had managed to create an opportunity for Will Maisey to hold his nerve and kick a penalty in the 5th minute of injury time to win it for Cov. This time we need to score a try if we are going to take the 4 points. A big ask given the previous 50 minutes.
On 81 minutes, from the restart Cov press and for a minute they do the simple things well, retain the ball, go through the phases and after working the ball from wide out on the left, they have the room out wide on the right for Dan Rundle to go over. It is effective and clinical and despite missing a difficult conversion Cov edge themselves into a 2 point lead, 19-17.
But with so much time to be added on for stoppages following a number of injuries, the game is certainly not over. It is still very much Coventry’s to lose. And there have been many occasions in the last few seasons when that is precisely what we would have done.
Accentuate the positives…
But for the second home game running, having nudged ourselves back into the lead, we are able to hold on, despite Blaydon being camped out on our line seconds before the final whistle.
It’s gripping stuff and it’s a mightily relieved Coventry crowd that celebrate when the referee finally brings the game to an end.
And obvious question coming out of this is? If Cov can produce 60 seconds or so of the type of rugby needed to score that match-saving try in injury time, under what must have been immense pressure, why couldn’t they have done that earlier?
Great response that it was, it was all rather frustrating.
And at this point I owe Matt Price an apology…in the final two minutes or so of the game, Cov, hanging on to that slender two point lead and desperately defending their lines in front of the posts, were awarded a penalty which was kicked to our 22. Our throw.
Now I try to tweet a kind of commentary for anyone not able to get to the game and following the loss of what was a fairly crucial lineout, I tweeted:
(although we did manage retain the ball somehow…).
Now, here’s the thing…’throw was poor’ is one of those generic comments that covers anything everything that goes wrong in the lineout. It was lazy of me, but in my defence after 120 plus tweets and in the heat of the moment…well. you get the picture.
Shortly after the game, Matt Price sent me a message back…
And he was absolutely right to do so.
From the stand, when lineouts go awry more often than not it just looks as if the throw was poor, especially to someone not in the know, so-to-speak. And I can see how my comment might be disappointing to someone like Matt who takes pride in what he does…so I did get back to him promising I would right the wrong and apologise in the blog.
And to be fair to Matt, he’s made that point before and I guess he must get sick and tired of the hooker having to be the one to carry the can, in the eyes of most spectators, when lineouts are lost..
Anyway, my shoulders are broad – sorry, Matt…
‘Poor lineout’ it is from now on!
And fair play to Matt for fighting his corner, especially in such a pleasant way (although I’m not so sure he would have been quite so polite when he read my tweet for the first time!).
A serious footnote to this though – I really do think as part of the Supporters’ Clubs events that are being organised (and what a great innovation that is), it would be good to invite Matt and/or Scott Tolmie to come along one evening, maybe as part of a wider discussion, just to talk to supporters about the kind of things to look out for in a lineout or scrum, and about what sometimes can go wrong and why (scrums as well as lineouts). I do think that would be really interesting, especially if there’s a bit of footage from one of the Cov games to support what’s said. There must be a few amusing anecdotes to tell as well…!
As a supporter, I’ve no idea really of what goes on and it would be good to hear first hand about the perils and pitfalls of being a hooker or, indeed, in the front row.
…oh, and while I’m on a roll, here’s another. How about asking Rowland Winter to take a game like yesterday’s and highlight the positives that come out of it and explain the areas where Cov’s performance didn’t quite match up to expectations (and perhaps show how the coaches would use this to work with the players the following week)?
Again, analysing three or four moments from a game, perhaps with Boris, James Pritchard or Brendan Burke along side him.
I’m sure this would go down really well with supporters, especially if it’s done in a fairly informal and engaging way.
It’s the kind of thing that has been so lacking before and would definitely strengthen links between supporters and the playing side of the club.
Anyway, back to the game.
Just why we lost the advantage we had in the first 30 minutes I’m unclear. But lose it we did.
We looked sharp, played the kind of expansive game that supporters had been hoping for and had it not been for a couple of wayward passes, or in one case the lack of a pass at all, we could have been home and hosed by half time.
Darrel Dyer’s great run in the opening minute of the game would surely have ended in a try had he seen the player out to his right and there were a couple of passes adjudged to be forward that prevented what looked like pretty clear scoring opportunities.
Tom Jubb scored following a charged down kick by Eoghan Grace to get things moving, well converted out wide by James Pritchard and Rob Knox scored a stonker of a try down the left wing, receiving the ball 40-45m out and having to beat a couple of players in the process. Rob looked to get into the game a bit more and I thought he had his best game out wide so far.
Scott Tolmie was also dominant in the loose and made good metres on several occasions.
It all looked to be going well, but the momentum of the game changed very quickly when Blaydon scored from close out in the 36th minute and from thereon in we were mostly on the back foot, although our defence was strong for the most part and we held are lines well.
The scrum looked oddly subdued and although we won a couple of penalties on our put in, we did lose a couple against the head too and we didn’t seem to put much pressure on the Blaydon scrum when they had the feed, something we’ve done in all our previous games. It’s something that was noticeably different, although I’m not sure what the reasons behind it were…if I can get to training this week I’ll ask. Lineouts functioned reasonably well, we stole a couple from them and vice versa and Dyer seemed more prominent as a receiver this week.
There was certainly nothing in the set pieces that seemed to offer Blaydon the upper hand which makes our second half performance all the more confusing. However, we did give the ball away far too often and Blaydon were a good enough side to capitalise on that territorially. Our discipline was poor, with far too many penalties conceded and basic handling errors. No yellows, though, so in that respect we did well, especially when Blaydon were pushing deep into our 22 in the final minutes of the game. Had we lost a player then, things would have been very different, so that was pleasing.
But we dogged it out, despite the performance being overall somewhat disappointing. We did miss a couple of important tackles, especially in the second half, which won’t have pleased JP (who I thought had a good game himself – always in the right place at the right time and making a couple of crucial tackles).
Had we lost, then I think RW would have probably taken a bit of flack over the number of changes, but to me the selection was a sign of strength and confidence in the whole squad. Blaydon have been something of a bogey side for us and to beat them and beat them with so many first choice players absent is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. The table doesn’t lie and we’re now up to 5th place and only 7 points adrift from 3rd placed Blackheath, who have Moseley and Plymouth (a) still to play before Christmas. Win another four or five and we’ll be pretty much where many of us hoped we’d be, although I don’t think many supporters had banked on any team being unbeaten after 10 games.
4 wins in the last 4 games and we’re looking better than the mid-table side we were three weeks ago, even despite a below par performance like yesterday’s.
Ampthill next week will be a true test of where we currently are. One point below us now, following what was probably an unexpected defeat for them away to Fylde (13-11), they are formidable at home and have a big strong pack…they are potentially another Esher or Blackheath and it will be a decent measure of the progress we’ve made since then.
Even before yesterday’s game, the coach numbers for the trip to Ampthill were healthy, so the win and the prospect of what should be a really tight game next weekend will almost certainly mean it is going to be a full coach by the end of the week…if you are interested it might be worth booking a place sooner rather than later.
Might not be one for the faint-hearted!
Just in case you haven’t yet voted for yesterday’s ‘Man of the Match’ award…it’s going to be a much closer affair than the previous ones!
If you were at the game and would like to take part, all you need to do is click on the circle next to the player who is your choice of 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.
The more people who participate, the more accurate an indication it is of who supporters who have voted for…
Please give it a go.
Results on Monday.
Accentuate the Positives – Jools Holland style
Okay, not Johnny Mercer, but there are very videos of the song around and any excuse to play anything by Jools H…