Club talk

DMP v Coventry – ‘We gon’ do it bigger than we ever had before’

This Saturday, we gon’ party all night
One we will remember for the rest of our lives
This Saturday, we gon’ do it bigger than, we ever had before
I don’t want this Saturday to end

Rebecca Black – Saturday

After what’s been an ‘interesting’ week over at the BPA, it’s good to get back to talking about the rugby.

Cov’s game against Darlington brings back memories for me of what was one of the real low points of last season…a long train journey up to Darlington, and even longer one back and in between watching Coventry manage to turn a 17-21 lead with just 20 minutes remaining into a 29-21  defeat come the final whistle.

Messrs. Conquest, Jubb and Bone probably have a rather different view of the game, playing as they were for the opposition that day. I thought at least one of the three ex-Darlington players might get a start today, but as it happens none of them even feature in the match day squad, although in fairness Rob Conquest has only just started retraining following injury.

There’s always something rather comforting about seeing Cliffie Hodgson’s name on the team sheet, especially at full back where I think he always looks most comfortable. Even though James Stokes makes a welcome return, Cliffie has been given the 15 shirt which speaks volumes for the confidence the management have in him, although in the notes accompanying the announcement of the squad, Rowland Winter hints that:

Midfield is an area where we may look to use Cliffie at some point

…presumably because the first choice centres haven’t as yet combined to have the impact that we had hoped for and, following a promising pre-season, expected.

The fact that Rob Knox looks set to return, perhaps in time even for the Moseley game, is welcome news indeed – a fit and confident Rob would make a big difference, especially in midfield, but I do worry that he seems to be so injury prone at the moment and has been for a couple of seasons now.

Of all the players we had the pleasure to watch over the ’13/’14 and ’14/’15 seasons other than Will Hurrell, Knoxy is probably the one I would have singled out as having the best chance of making it in the Championship and, had he remained injury free last season, I wouldn’t have been surprised had one of the bigger clubs come in with an offer (indeed, maybe they did).  I’m sure there will be clubs monitoring his progress this season as well, but he will need to have a sustained run in the Cov side if he is going to convince potential suitors that he is worth the risk – unless of course he is persuaded to stay on with Cov for another year.

Sorry, I digress…

I’m not sure how effective James Stokes has been when he’s played out wide in the past…however, I think that’s partly the result of not being given enough good ball to feed off. He’s such a dangerous runner that provided we give the ball some width, then he’ll cause the opposition all sorts of problems. The combination of Stokes, Hodgson and James at 14, 15 and 11 is definitely an exciting one and with Tom Howe on the bench, the potential is obvious. I say on the bench but he is down as 21 and, with only 5 players permitted, it’s not clear whether he will be included or not.

It must be all be a little strange for Tom…less than two weeks ago I watched him come off the bench to make his first team debut for Wasps in the Premiership against Sale Sharks in front of over 13000 and here he is, potentially keeping the bench warm again, only this time for a National 1 team and probably in front of less than a 1000.

The game can be a great leveler at times.

There’s the now customary change in the front row, this week seeing Jimmy Litchfield taking over from Andy Brown which shouldn’t weaken the scrum unduly. I’m surprised that Boris hasn’t made an appearance for a while now, once again being one of the travelling reserves. He did pick up an injury a while back, so maybe RW doesn’t want to risk him until he’s sure he’s over it or else they’re saving him for the Moseley game…and here’s hoping for that one! (Incidentally, Moseley are bringing two coach loads of supporters with them!!!!)…

Whilst I always enjoy watching Tom Jubb, Tom Poole’s return seems a sensible choice given that Darlington usually have a strong set of forwards and the extra physicality he brings could well be needed, although he’s not as good a ball carrier as TJ.

After Freddie’s encouraging performance last week, I’m pleased he’s been retained in the side…with RW talking about ‘grind(ing) out a result today’, he’s very much a team player and perhaps that’s why he gets the nod over someone like Darrel Dyer who is more of a 6.

Sam Harry’s last start, against Rosslyn Park, wasn’t his best but the whole back row really failed to deliver on the day  and when he came on last week against Old Albanian, I thought he did well and deserves the opportunity this weekend.

Corey Hircock remains in the centre, this time partnered by Tom Wheatcroft – in the absence of Rob Knox and Callum MacBurnie’s loan spell at the Bees, this would seem to be the best permutation we have at the club at the moment (especially in the light of Brendan Burke’s injury last week). Indeed, perhaps it’s the only available one, other than experimenting with Cliffie.

Tom W has been unlucky with injuries so far this season and would always be a shoe-in for me if fit. Corey remains the most consistent of players and must have more minutes on the pitch than any other player, forward or back.

Brown, Price, Dyer, Maisey and Adamson (good to have him back) represent another very strong bench. In fact, one of the big differences for me between this season and the last is that whatever team we put out this season, we’ve always been able to include a strong set of replacements, with every player worth of a starting place in their own right.

This wasn’t always the case last season, when we sometimes struggled to put out a bench that was fit for purpose.

Rowland Winter refers to the Darlington game as being ‘a massive test for us’. Under normal circumstances a team in 13th place with just 5 wins and in the middle of a pretty poor run of form, with only one win in their last eight, shouldn’t be anything other than a ‘routine’ test for a side in 6th place. However, this is Coventry we’re talking about, a team that has one just one away game from the six they’ve played and one that made very heavy weather of beating Old Albanian at home last week.

Darlington’s last home game was their only win amidst that losing streak, against Esher who themselves are struggling at the moment.

table1table2

So a massive game against the Darlington massif (…me, I’m big in the ‘hood…).

Massive not just because it’s going to be a tough game to win up there, irrespective of our current form away from home, it’s also hugely important because a win goes some way to end the away day hoodoos that seem to be following us everywhere we go.

To finish the first half of the season with the ‘W’ sets us up for better things in January and beyond and also means that the camp is that much happier going into the Moseley game next weekend – and those players, and indeed spectators, who haven’t been part of a Cov/Mose local derby before, well they’re in for a treat!

I hope that, for the sake of everyone involved with Cov, Saturday and Sunday finish with us all talking about the rugby rather than the anything that might have gone on behind the scenes earlier in the week.

It was a week that went something like, Monday, Tuesday WTF…

Like it or not, in part the players performances away from home have contributed to this week’s events…here’s is an ideal opportunity to put that behind them and at least provide a little more optimism for the new year.

Despite the six defeats this season, we remain close enough to the teams in second and third places to put them under real pressure in the remaining games, especially if we win our next two – with next weekend being an absolutely corker as we take on Moseley at home and Plymouth ‘welcome’ Hartpury. If, and I appreciate it’s another ‘if’ (although not that bigger one in all honesty), results were to go our way and both Plymouth and Moseley lose, suddenly things begin to look very different indeed…

What a great league to be in this is….

Call everyone you know
turn up the radio
’cause this is our song
we can do no wrong
Are you ready, are you ready to go?
This saturday, we gon’ party all night
One we will remember for the rest of our lives
This Saturday, we gon’ do it bigger than, we ever had before
I don’t want this Saturday to end

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

Annoying but sadly very catching….

Rebecca Black – Saturday

3 replies »

  1. Hi Richard…I agree about Jubb being first choice, but I think with Snyman plus 3 other quality locks (n terms of our league) then RW is going to have to rotate, but I did expect TJ to play today – he’s a bit hot-headed at times so maybe there was a concern about his self-discipline. I’d expect Cov to put out their strongest available team against Moseley, so I reckon he’ll get the nod for that one…????

    Thank you for the kind comment…

    Like

    • I agree Tim, I know there are concerns about Tom Jubb’s discipline and throwing punches at a team mate never looks good – I certainly can’t remember seeing that happen before.

      Like

  2. Interesting times! The Jubb situation is a mystery to me. Watching him from the touchline last week he was MOM for me. He always brings something different to the game and his all round performance was impressive. As much as I like Tom Poole, Jubby would be my choice. They are obviously planning for a more sedentary approach! Jubb would have put in a great performance against his old pals. Maybe there’s some history and they thought he’s best out of it! – or some injury of some kind. I guess Poole may be more skilled in the defensive department. I really hope they do well. Good luck to them. As ever thanks for the blog.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s