A road less travelled, last stop Loughborough…
We’ve humped…and for the last time this season.
We are over the other side of the bridge and into the business end of the week and building up to the final league game of the 2016/17 campaign.
Away at Loughborough Students.
The wheel has almost turned full circle as we visit the team we first faced at the start of the journey that we hope will ultimately lead us back into Championship.
Recently, somewhere along the circuitous route that we have been following for these past 7 seasons, we took a discreet turn onto one of the minor roads.
A road less travelled.
Perhaps it was just after we so narrowly beat Old Albanian at home or more likely it was just before the second Moseley game…but, whenever it was, since that decision to leave the our usual path, we have moved inexorably forward to bigger and better things.
The infamous Cov ring-road that every season seems to takes us back to a point close to where we started from has now been left well behind.
As of now, we travel a very different path that leads to a horizon beyond which we have no view, just an expectation.
And the Loughborough game is the last before we stop and take stock of where we are.
Provisions will be replenished, the new route checked and scouted, everyone rested and additional personnel taken on board before we leave in September, stronger and fitter and on to the next leg of the journey.
And whilst in many respects the Loughborough game is something of a dead rubber, a win would extend our unbeaten run to seven games and take us into the summer break with momentum very much on our side and full of the confidence that comes with self-belief.
This season has been unlike any other I can remember, with Hartpury so dominant that the season was pretty much over by Christmas.
I still have got my head around the fact that even though we are in fourth place in the league, having won a healthy 19 games, in terms of points we are closer to relegation than we are to promotion. We are 47 points behind the champions-elect and only 43 in front of Hull…(thanks, Sam, for giving me that one!).
That aside, a win against Loughborough is important in order to finish the season on a high and I’m sure that the players and coaches will want to give Coventry’s away supporters, many of whom won’t have the best of memories regarding their travels this season, especially the journeys down to the south east before Christmas.
Those games were definitely our nadir this season.
However, 3 consecutive away wins have helped repair some of the damage caused by the earlier disappointments and the Cov faithful has remained just that. A win would be a great way of showing the team’s appreciation of a set of fans that , more often than not, have been more vocal and who have even occasionally outnumbered the home support.
And with the recent run of results, Cov’s away support has increased to the extent that the Supporters’ Club has had to reorder a larger coach to cope with the increased demand…wouldn’t it be great if at some stage next season we can take two coaches to the odd away game?
At this point it would be remiss of me not to thank the Committee for arranging the transport and especially to Steve Hood who has been coach manager on so many of the trips and has yet to miss a single away game. There will be one or two others in that position, but Steve deserves an extra shout out because of his unstinting support of the management of the coaches on the travel (and Paul, Cliff and Quent, too).
It’s pretty clear from the selection for the DMP game last weekend that Rowland Winter will be looking to put out another strong side. He resisted the temptation to give some of the Coventry leavers a final swansong in front of their home crowd and he’ll want to ensure the side selected for Saturday will be too strong for a Loughborough team that has blown hot and cold this season. Loughborough has won 7 games at home this season and drawn another which isn’t that superior a record to Coventry’s away one which includes 5 wins and a draw.
However, Loughborough are another of those teams capable of springing a surprise, playing attacking rugby that can catch sides out if they don’t concentrate for the full 80 minutes and playing a similar style in many ways to that of Cambridge and Fylde.
Defensively, we have been far tighter in the last few games, since away at Fylde in fact, and although Loughborough are the third highest points scorers in the league, Coventry are more than capable of suffocating their supply of good ball whilst also using their own attacking strengths to put Loughborough to the sword.
Loughborough’s home record vs Cov’s away record
And despite Coventry’s relatively disappointing away record this season, we have conceded less points on our travels than Loughborough have at home, so there’s plenty to suggest that if we opt for the type of expansive rugby that we have been attempting to play for most of the season, then Loughborough will struggle to contain us.
And those supporters making the trip across to Loughborough will be hoping that Coventry are in a mood to play the type of attacking rugby that we have saw against Old Albanian in the last away game as there are still some notable milestones to be achieved by this team on the pitch.
There’s the one try needed to break the record of 126 tries scored in a season and the rather more challenging 54 points required to break the 1000 points for the season.
Then there’s the race to be the club’s top try scorer, with any of 4 players still in with a shout. From John Wilkinson’s interview with Max Trimble released on to the website yesterday, it is clear that Tome Howe won’t be featuring on Saturday which opens the door wide open for Max Trimble to take the honours, although Scott Tolmie and Rob Knox might well have something to say on the matter.
Will Maisey has 11 of the top 15 highest points totals scored in a match this season, but still trails Tony Fenner by a single point. It would be a special moment for special player should he top the 22 points Fenner scored against Macclesfield back in January.
It has been an extraordinary season for the fly-half who has comfortably exceeded most people’s expectations and whilst I’m sure he won’t start the game on Saturday with the intention of amassing 23 points or more, we have seen that he is more than capable of doing so if Coventry are in an unstoppable mood. Leading points scorer for in the season and in an individual game would be a fantastic achievement for the local lad made good.
|22||Anthony Fenner||Macclesfield||07-01-2017||Match details|
|21||Will Maisey||Old Albanian||08-04-2017||Match details|
|19||Will Maisey||Plymouth Albion||22-10-2016||Match details|
|18||Will Maisey||Rosslyn Park||01-04-2017||Match details|
|16||Will Maisey||Darlington MP||22-04-2017||Match details|
Maybe another thing in Cov’s favour is that it has more to play for than a Loughborough side without any obvious incentives. Much of the success of the season is anecdotal, but put down a couple of markers, as in the greatest number of tries scored in a seaoband 1000 points for the season, and suddenly it’s in the record books for all to see. A good season becomes a great one.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
If you haven’t already voted in yesterday’s poll, please do so…I’ll announce the results in tomorrow’s post.
Here it is just in case:
Who, out of all the players joining us next season, are you most looking forward to seeing in a Cov shirt?
That’s not necessarily the same as being asked who the best signing, potentially, is – in fact for me, the two questions would give two different answers.
It could be who excites you most, who you feel is the likeliest match winner or who you think will be the most consistent performer.
Your vote, your criteria.
Just indicate against the name who you are voting for and remember to scroll down to the foot of the poll to press the ‘Vote’ button to record your choice.
Once again, you only get the one vote.
Results in Friday’s post.
Many thanks for taking part.
A poem today…and a pretty damn good one, too.
The Road Less Travelled…