Club talk

Nighthawks, clueless in Coventry, the train man…

It would appear that the Nighthawks enjoyed a much better second half yesterday evening against Cambridge University than they did the first,  if  STC Teamwear’s tweet is anything to go by.

STC are the official kit suppliers for both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, so their acknowledgement of the pressure Cambridge was under does suggests the Nighthawks turned things around somewhat in the second forty, having gone into the break 28-7 down.

The Nighthawks’ games were reintroduced to give the members of the Development Squad the chance to play for Coventry and for the coaches to take stock of the progress the players are making whilst at their respective junior clubs. Hopefully, they all got the opportunity to play their part and created a good account of themselves.  And equally importantly, no one suffered any injuries.

With a squad of 27, there will have been a number of replacements made during the game which can disrupt the flow somewhat, so Coventry did well to reel Cambridge in and win the second half. Hopefully, there will be a report on the game on the website which will give us a bit more detail.

I wonder if anyone sounded STC out about a possible working relationship with Coventry whilst they were down there. 😉

Okay, I am being facetious but the lack of any form of replica kit being made available to supporters is starting to play on everyone’s nerves. And whilst supporters have been very patient (far more so than in previous years), unless the announcement coming out of the club by the end of the week (?) is positive, and by positive I mean with a date much sooner than later, then I think we’ll see some vitriol coming from certain quarters.

One of which might well be this one…

However, the Supporters’ Club has indicated that it will be pursuing an update from the Club at the end of the week, so I guess another couple of days won’t make any difference. And thank goodness for Cliff and Quent’s involvement…I’m sure it’s helped move things on a little as up to now there has been no communication from club whatsoever.

I can feel a rant coming on…

But ‘ll wait…although irrespective of what happens, and even if things are resolved within the next few days, the whole situation has become intolerable and I can only hope that someone on the Board is asking those involved exactly why the supporters have been left in the dark for so long.

And just to pre-empt a possible response to that question, inviting the representatives of the SC into a meeting 15 weeks into the season (including the pre-season) doesn’t count as involving supporters, especially when they are then asked not to disclose the contents of the discussions!

Shame on the club. It’s doing itself no favours.

Now here’s the thing. As the efforts of Rowland Winter and the coaches, together with all the hard work and training put in by the players, begins to pay off and results improve, so they attract people into The Butts to watch Coventry for the first time.  They are potential supporters who might invest their time and money in the club in the future if they find it proves to be an enjoyable experience. But are they really going to be impressed if, when the come to buy a souvenir of their visit – maybe a woolly hat, scarf or even just a simple pin badge – they find there isn’t anything on offer? It’s hardly going to convince them that this is a club on the up, is it? However good the performance is on the pitch, the match day experience is going to be what counts.

So off they go across the city…

Maybe that happens, maybe it doesn’t…but it’s not something I would want to even risk happening.

They might no longer be sleepless in Seattle, but they’re definitely still clueless in Coventry.

See…I just can’t let it go.

Nor should I or any other supporter for that matter. And if I do post on this again, well it might not be for those of a delicate disposition.

Urggggh.

Anyway…back to the rugby and to the business end of the week and the announcement of the team tomorrow morning and then hopefully training in the evening…there’s something rather pleasant about sitting in a deserted main stand under the glare of the floodlights with just a handful of others, wrapped up warm against the cold and watching the players go through their routines whilst all the time talking Cov. There are certainly worse ways to spend an evening.

Ampthill are going to present our biggest challenge so far in many respects because they are a team we ought now to be beating. Even though we’re away from home, they are below us in the league, albeit by just the one point and if we are to make a move into the top three, then these are the games we really ought to be winning.

It’s a big ask, and even with the 4 straight wins it might be that we aren’t yet where we need to be, but I can’t imagine the players and coaches don’t believe that the game is winnable, as is every game in this league. I guess, though, the thing I want to see more than anything else, is that we put in a performance that is very different to the ones we saw against Blackheath and Esher. Having got the much needed away win at Hull, it’s time to move up a gear and show the same kind of form, and resilience, as we’ve seen recently at home against Plymouth and Blaydon.

This is a strong squad, one that is growing in confidence and beginning to play with a little more self-belief, knowing that defensively it is that much better organised. It looks like the coaches have got the pieces to the puzzle all sorted, and the edges have all being fitted together so it is taking shape, but the detail has yet to be completed. Odd pieces that they hope might fit together to finish off the picture have still to be tried.

Three of last year’s squad, Peter Weightman, Sam Baker and Loti Molitika are now with Ampthill. I thought Peter had a decent season for us and became something of a regular towards the end of the year. Sam Baker joined us, as I recall, in September and only played 2 or 3 games…I remember him sending a pointed tweet out having scored a brace of tries for his new club a few weeks later. He’s their leading try scorer by a distance (with 7) and I’m sure he’ll want to prove a point on Saturday. Loti hasn’t played regularly  (just 3 starts), so we’ll have to wait and see if he is in the squad.

Darrel Dyer, who played for Ampthill last season, recognises what a tough game it will be:

It’s going to be a massive challenge, especially up front in the forwards. Ampthill are known for being a power team, so we’ve got to match them physically and, basically, attack their weak areas.

We know it’s been an area of strength for us as well, so it should be a contest of gladiatorial proportions. Last week we didn’t put Blaydon’s forwards under the sort of pressure we’ve created in previous games, so there’s a little concern there for me, but hopefully the coaches will pick the squad best suited to take on Ampthill up front and if we match them there, I think we have the backs to cause them real problems.

I will certainly travel there more nervous than I usually am on away days. I think Coventry’s away record over the last few seasons hasn’t been great, and whilst the hope has always been for a Cov win, the expectation hasn’t always been the same. However, with Coventry beginning to put a run together, that’s now changing and the fact that as far as the league table is concerned, the teams seem to be fairly evenly matched, means it becomes one of the games that we ought to win…hence it is that much more nerve-wracking.

In some respects, I’m quite lucky in that despite my love of Cov, if we lose I can put aside a defeat very quickly and move on to the next game. Occasionally a performance will annoy me (Esher…twice!), but the result won’t. But I do get very nervous before a game which is why I’ve always preferred  to be out and about immediately on arrival at a ground rather than sitting in the clubhouse. I used to walk round the ground with Sam, doing a fair few laps in the process, to calm the nerves a bit, but since I’ve started the blog I tend to take a few photos before the game, although that helps as well. A lot of supporters go to the rugby to enjoy the social side of the game as much as the rugby, for me though it’s far more about the build up to the game and the game itself.

And the burger, of course.

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

img_0865

The 2.13 from Nuneaton – look carefully and you can just make out Dave’s Cov scarf fluttering from the window.

Every couple of days or so, I change the header to the front page of the blog – the header being the image that runs across the top of the page. It’s not something that needs to be done, I just think it makes it visually a little more interesting if there’s a change in image fairly regularly.

Yesterday I decided to move away from a rugby theme, choosing instead to use a photo of a train as it passed the ground during a recent game. I’m sure everyone who attends home fixtures with any regularity will have seen it go past, often tooting as it does so , usually initiating a good-humoured wave from many supporters.
I didn’t think anything of it really, it’s a photo that is synonymous (for me) with watching rugby at the Butts and I hadn’t expected it to evoke any particular response, so imagine my surprise when, within a couple of hours or so of posting it I received the following tweet:

You can just about make out Dave and his scar....nice one!

You can just about make out Dave and his scarf….nice one!

Dave has tweeted before about the rugby and about being on the train that goes past sometimes when Cov are playing on a Saturday afternoon. I wondered when I pinned the photo to the header whether Dave might be at the controls,  but I hadn’t noticed, much to my embarrassment, the scarf coming from the driver’s cab.

It was a chance photo but a rather fortuitous one.

So if you’re in the ground at around 2.33 pm when Cov are playing at The Butts, look out for Dave the Driver and give him a wave if he toots. It won’t always be Dave and there are other drivers who will sound the horn too, but Dave is the only one with the scarf. I’m not sure my eyesight is good enough to spot it from the main stand, so I’ll wave whatever…

Great to put a name to a face train…

Nice one, Dave. Having zoomed in, the trees don’t actually hide the thumbs up.

Just goes to show how dedicated Cov fans are…

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