Many thanks to everyone who took part in the Coventry v Hull Ionians ‘Man of the Match’ poll over the weekend.
The results of the voting are as follows:
Pete White – 29%
Will Maisey – 20%
Andy Brown – 13%
Heath Stevens– 11%
Well done, Pete.
Hard to argue with this one, really.
Three tries, a threat in attack all game and a couple of painful knocks early on, including an injudicious boot in the face from the Hull no 8. It will certainly be a game that Pete White will remember for a good long time.
Pete is a really gritty contender and is one of the lynchpins in the side for me, with so much of the play stemming from his ability to move the ball out quickly, either short and flat to the forwards or out to the backs with that longer pass that is both fast and accurate and gives the fly half just that little but more time to use the ball.
Even discounting his hatrick of tries yesterday (are players at this level allowed to keep the match day ball – I assume not given the expense?), I thought Pete had a really strong game, harrying the opposition scrum half and generally in the faces of the opposition all afternoon, always looking for quick ball from penalties and he’s certainly not a player who stands off a tackle.
He’s hugely popular with the supporters and with a year under his belt at Coventry, and with a full pre-season behind him, he should be quickly into his stride in September. I am, of course, presuming that he will be here next season!
Given this season has been so disrupted as a result of recuperation from injury following his operation in the close season last year, and with only 12 starts to his name, Pete is almost half a season behind everyone else.
He’s clearly rated by those outside of the club, too, and it will be great to see him, hopefully, play for England Counties on Friday evening.
Does that get you onto the Honours’ Board in the clubhouse, I wonder – or is that just for those who have achieved a full cap? If it doesn’t, it would be a nice touch to have a framed photo of the four Cov representatives this season – Jimmy Litchfield, James Stokes, Any Brown and Pete White – placed in some prominent position. That or a framed shirt autographed by the four of them, perhaps?
The MoM result, alongside his healthy showing in the MVP Poll at Christmas, clearly shows how well regarded Pete is and what an important member of the squad he has so quickly become.
This week the result of the poll agrees with that of the sponsors, so with 8 polls completed in all, supporters have gone for a 50:50 split, agreeing/disagreeing 4 times a piece.
In most other games, Will Maisey might have been expected to have come a place higher, but with Pete’s all-round contribution, Will had to settle for second place. However, not only did Will reach the 150 point milestone for the season, and he deserves plenty of plaudits for that, he also showed what a fine running game he possesses, making as he did several important breaks, one of which led directly to a try.
As far as I’m aware, there will be an official Coventry Rugby Club announcement regarding players retained from the current squad for the 2017/18 season, or new signings, every Tuesday from now on until the end of the season.
Last Tuesday we got the news that Jack Preece and Alex Grove will be joining us, this Tuesday I believe it will be the names of the first tranche of retained players.
In many respects I’m just as interested in those staying as I am in those coming in. We all have our own favourites, those whom we believe must be kept on for the club to continue to develop, as well as those who perhaps we don’t see as either having had the impact we would have hoped this season or maybe not being able to step up to the next level quite as effectively as others.
In previous seasons, Coventry tended to leave the naming of those players leaving, staying or coming in, until much nearer the end of the season, something which always frustrated me because other clubs were much quicker off the mark. Provided it doesn’t compromise the players, or the other clubs involved (especially if they are joining us) I think it is a better to get it out into the open. It prevents rumour and gossip that can sometimes impact on the morale of players and a subsequent loss of form and, if the right players have been brought in, it can result in more interest amongst the supporters and the local community, thus increasing the demand for season tickets.
Once again, it comes down to good communication between the club and its supporters, an area in which Coventry have excelled this season.
Retentions would have made an interesting poll if I’d been a bit more on the ball. For instance, who would be the first 5 of the current squad you’d want confirmed? I’m not altogether sure that they would necessarily coincide with the MVP top 5 either…my top 5 would definitely see a couple of names coming in who didn’t feature in the Christmas poll. Too late now, of course, but who will be included in that first list of names to be released?
It was lovely to see Ted Wainwright receiving lifelong membership to the Supporters’ Club after the game on Saturday, together with an plaque and a Coventry top.
Ted sits in the area of the stand we sit in and he’s there come rain or shine, one of Coventry’s most loyal supporters and always cheerful, not matter what. He’s also known to break into the odd terrace chant when Cov are in most need of a bit of vocal support and earlier in the season even had a pop at one of the travelling coaches who got a bit above himself.
Ted isn’t the most mobile of people these days which make his continued presence, at the ripe old age of 85, even more remarkable. Those who witnessed the presentation could see the genuine affection accorded to him by the players and staff and it was a lovely gesture by them to come over and have their pictures taken with him.
The Supporters’ Club Committee should be congratulated for rewarding Ted in this way – you only had to see Ted’s beaming smile when the likes of Peter Rossborough and Rowland Winter were speaking to him to understand just how much that meant him and the occasion was warmly received by the many hundreds of supporters who stayed on to show Ted their appreciation.
Well done to everyone involved. It’s one of those things that makes this club so special.
I just thought I’d make a quick mention of former Cov player, Matt Jones.
Matt left us at the end of last season having made 73 appearances in all and scoring 345 points, including 6 tries, during the three seasons he was with us. His kicking strike rate was a very creditable 77% which, given he played second fiddle to Cliffie Hodgson in the kicking department for much of his time here, was very creditable indeed.
Will Maisey understudied Matt during his first spell at Coventry.
Matt’s now at Pontypool, playing in the SSE SWALEC Championship and is currently getting some great reviews. Pontypool are runaway leaders of their league having won all 17 of their fixtures and are also unbeaten in the SWLAEC Cup as well.
I really enjoyed watching Matt play…a very different kind of fly half to Tony Fenner….but he could turn a game with a decisive pass, a quick break or a chip over the top for Rundle or Hurrell to run on to. He also seemed a really nice bloke and always made a point of saying hello as he jogged past as he went about his warm up routines…he even stopped for the photo on his last appearance.
Great to see him doing so well and playing alongside another ex Coventry player, Rob Nash. If I remember correctly, Cov had been after Rob for a while having played against him in pre-season friendlies for Cross Keys. He was made team captain and I think it is fair to say that expectations were high on his arrival. Sadly, Rob never settled here and he only lasted 17 games,and less than a season, before he returned to Wales.
Both Rob and Matt are clearly doing well now and I wish them both the very best for the remainder of the season.