Club talk

Coventry v Darlington Mowden Park – so long, farewell, auch wiedersehen, goodbye…

The sun struggles up another beautiful day
And I felt glad in my own suspicious way
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Despite the contradiction and confusion
Felt tragic without reason
There’s malice and there’s magic in every season

From the foaming breakers of the poisonous surf
The other side of summer
To the burning forests in the hills of Astroturf
The other side of summer

Elvis Costello – The Other Side of Summer

The sun struggles up…another beautiful day.

The last home game of the season and with thoughts of the  73-8 win against Old Albanian still fresh in the memory, there’s always the hope that something similar could be repeated in front of what should be a large and welcoming home crowd keen to show its appreciation to a side that has grown in confidence over the course of the season and a management team that has given renewed hope to many supporters who had become increasingly disillusioned over the course of the previous season.

Whatever is happening off the pitch in terms of the development of the ground and the club’s links with other local sports, this afternoon is a time to celebrate the improvements we’ve seen Cov make on the pitch, especially at the BPA and, more recently, on their travels too.

There’s no doubt the crowd will be fired up for this one and if the players pick up on the excitement and get a sense of the occasion, then we could be in for another very enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment at the BPA.

There was certainly plenty of intention shown at training on Thursday…the backs worked out virtually in front of where we were sitting (the forwards were down at the city end with Boris) and for probably 15-20 minutes they were spilt 5 against 5 (or 4 v 4?) with one group attacking, running the ball down the line and practising a variety of moves from missed passes to players taking the ball on angled runs, whilst the other defended and vice versa. It was relentless, with no break at all and Nick Walshe overseeing proceedings and making adjustments as necessary…such was the intensity that I couldn’t imagine the same players being able to keep it up to the same extent after a seven or eight week break in mid June.

The player who impressed me the most was Cliffie Hodgson – he had boundless energy and was clearly relishing being back and playing such an attacking role. James Stokes might be the first choice at 15, but Cliffie looks to be getting sharper by the week.

Cliffie Hodgson looks to be getting back to something like his best form following a torrid period of injury

I have to hold my hand up and admit that I got it wrong as far as Cliffie was concerned.

I did wonder where he would fit in this season with Maisey and Fenner at fly-half and Stokes (and at the time Pritchard) at full-back. However, part of that was probably because we hadn’t seen a fit and injury free Hodgson for at least a season and arguably longer.

Since his return, he seems to have fully regained his confidence, having got through those first couple of games relatively injury free (other than the ‘stinger’).

The counter attacking rugby Cov play from inside their own half has suited him and now he has belief that his shoulder will stand up to the hardest of tackles, he looks to be back pretty close to his best.

It’s great to see him playing again.

The Stokes/Hodgson combination at 15 seems to be working well and full-back is one the few positions next season where players already in possession of the shirt won’t be competing against players coming in – Fenner/Maisey is another at fly-half, White will be the first choice 9 and the props, too, will probably remain unchallenged, other than by Jake Byrne and Harry Morely, perhaps.

Second row, back row, centres and wingers alike are all going to be involved in some really strong competition for places which will make for a really exciting pre-season.

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

I imagine supporters will be voting for their player of the season at the ground tomorrow (I think there will also be a Supporters’ Club award as well)…I always vote and usually I’ve made up my mind well in advance, but not so this season.

I guess it depends on that criteria you use. For me, it will be the player who has had the biggest influence on the pitch/team, for others it might be the most exciting player to watch, or the biggest points scorer…and, of course, they aren’t necessarily one and the same.

I don’t think Sam and I have chosen the same player for many a season…maybe this time it will be different.

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

The game this afternoon should be a corker…two teams that scored 139 points between them in the last round of National One  matches.

There’s certainly no love lost between the front rows, as was witnessed (or wasn’t, as the case may be) at half time over at the Northern Echo Arena before Christmas. It looks as if former Cov prop Ignas Darkintis will be starting again, but there is no place either in the team or on the bench for Rob Conquest – presumably as a result of an injury…?

According to the DMP website:

Simon Uzokwe and Dan Preston-Routledge start after returning from England Students duty. Preston-Routledge has joined the club as part of a dual-registration with Yorkshire Carnegie, and is set to make his debut in the second row.

I’m sure Preston-Routledge will get an especially warm welcome from the two Toms…

It’s definitely going to be a tough first 20 minutes, as it was against Old Albanian.

It will be a feisty encounter and we’ll need to be disciplined as I think they’ll be some needle out there this afternoon.

If Coventry do get an early score or two, then I’d expect us to pull clear and end up convincing winners. However, if we succumb to one of our infamous periods in a game where we lose concentration, then DMP have the ability to take full advantage. We’ve shown we can put in an 80 minute shift and to do so in the final home game of the season in front of something like 1300-1400  noisy supporters would be a fantastic note on which to end.

 

Often these sort of end-of-season games fail to deliver, but having seen the players train on Thursday, they are definitely up for it and if Moseley slip up against Esher (which is possible given their injuries and recent form) Cov could find themselves in 4th place by the end of the afternoon, so that alone should be motivation enough.

Big crowd, big noise, big atmosphere?

For sure…

Big win?

Well I’m sure DMP will have something to say about that, but it doesn’t stop me hoping.

RW suggested on Thursday that there might be an interesting, and interested, spectator at the ground today…however, unless it was someone very famous, I don’t think I’d recognise them anyway, so said person’s presence is sure to go unnoticed by me.

Mind you, have camera, will travel.

The last home game of the season…and almost, but not quite, the very last sound of music.

So long, farewell, auch wiedersehen, goodbye….

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

Please don’t forget to vote for the ‘Man of the Match’ award over the next couple of days.

I’ll put a post out soon after the end of the game and it will be ‘live’ until Sunday evening with the results announced early next week.

It’s always interesting to see whether spectators confirm the sponsors’ decision, something which isn’t always the case. At the moment of the 10 MoM  polls on the blog this season, only 4 have coincided with official ‘Man of the Match’ award.

Thank you in advance for your support.

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

As always:
If you’re not able to make it to the game today but want to know what’s happening other than just updates of the scores, please let me know and I’ll be happy to tweet a ‘commentary’.
I’m afraid my texting is even less accurate than my typing and on occasions I do come up with some confused messages at times, sadly often to the amusement of those following the game via Twitter. Hopefully, with the warmer weather now upon us, my fingers will be a little more responsive.
I do tend to tweet fairly regularly, enough to provide an abbreviated Twitter commentary which at least gives a feel for what is happening on the pitch.
@CoventryRugby will also usually offer score updates, as will the Messageboard and it’s worth checking Darlington Mowden Park’s own Twitter feed.
However, the difference is my tweets probably are a bit more detailed…there’s some choice available though, depending what it is that you’re looking for.
I’m to be found on @Cowshedtim.

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter or don’t have an account, then on the homepage of this blog (www.coventryrfc.me), all the tweets will appear in real time on the far right of the page, towards the top end.

Up the Cov!

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

The summer will soon be upon us.

Hot, balmy days, long sultry nights.

But no rugby…

…the other side of summer.

Okay, there’s the Lions tour to enjoy, but it’s not Cov.

The long wait ’til the August friendlies…summer has it’s drawbacks.

Cue Elvis Costello…cynical, contemptuous, derisive…all sung to one of the ‘poppiest’ tunes/videos imaginable

Costello, the greatest singer/songwriter of his generation…

The Other Side of Summer

Was it a millionaire who said “imagine no possessions”?
A poor little schoolboy who said “we don’t need no lessons”?
The rabid rebel dogs ransack the shampoo shop
The pop princess is downtown shooting up
And if that goddess if fit for burning
The sun will struggle up the world will still keep turning

The dancing was desperate, the music was worse
They bury your dreams and dig up the worthless
Goodnight
God bless
And kiss “goodbye” to the earth
The other side of summer
The other side of summer
The other side of summer
The other side of summer
The other side of summer
The other side of summer
The other side
The other side
The other side, oh

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