Friendlies Season 3 – Episode 1: the one with the 7s
Don’t stop, never give up
Hold your head high and reach the top
Let the world see what you have got
Bring it all back to you
Hold on to what you try to be
When the world is on your shoulders
Just smile and let it go
Cov Club 7s –
(Okay S Club 7…but close)
S Club 7…the shame of it.
But hold on, their music is bright and breezy, a very summery sound, and with lyrics that are full of cheesy optimism what better song is there than ‘Bring It All Back’ to reflect the start of a new Cov season that offers so much hope for the Cov faithful?
Yes, they were about when my kids were having sleepovers and dancing on the living room floor to Now Hits 666, or whatever it was back in the late 90s, but the music lives.
Sadly… some might add.
That apart, many of us have begun to believe that the tide is changing for Coventry Rugby Club and that things are moving in the right direction. Whilst promotion is by no means guaranteed this season, it is something that we can at least now talk about openly over the next couple of years, rather than whisper about it in darkened corners.Previous seasons have so often failed to deliver on the early hope and promise, but at least they have led us to where we are now.
We are in a far happier, far healthier place – a place where the club appears to be flourishing on more solid foundations, excavated by Jon Sharp and currently being built on by Rowland Winter and his support staff.
The hope we had going into the 2015/16 season, built as it was back then on the success of a third place finish the season prior to that was, in retrospect, founded more on words than deeds…two seasons on and there is now a confidence that isn’t held together simply by the coaches’ belief that the squad has been improved and everything is in place for a concerted assault on the top spot as it appeared to be back then.
That ended within just a few short weeks.
A series of major upheavals on and off the pitch that season ended in the club failing to deliver on most fronts and over the last 12 months a period of massive change, and then consolidation, has taken place throughout the club, resulting in the team probably exceeding most supporters’ expectations on the pitch over the second half of the season.
Cov finished a very laudable 4th…
…and above Moseley, too.
Since then, a host of new signings have brought to the squad a degree of experience and talent the likes of which we haven’t seen collectively for many a long season. Having had only one major departure at the end of last season, in the shape of Darrel Dyer, we already had a squad that would have been one of the favourites for a top three spot this season, even without the likes of Sam Tuitupou, Luke Narraway, Jack Preece, Alex Grove, Latu Makaafi et al.
Hard not to get excited, really.
Maybe this season isn’t going to be the season as we are still in the process of building the team, and infrastructure, needed to make that final push, but it is going to be a pretty interesting one nevertheless. I’m sure several of the squad, old and new, aren’t expecting to be playing National One rugby for too much longer.
So maybe, just maybe, ‘Bring It All Back’ is the right song for the moment. Unfashionable as S Club 7 are, perhaps Tina, Paul, Jo, Bradley and Rachel are the right people to capture the mood…and besides, I’m always going to be a closet fan of anything involving Rachel Stevens.
…it would be great to bring back a little of the success Cov saw in the 70s, 80s and early 90s and, in so doing, the long suffering Coventry supporters could indeed, ‘Hold your head high and reach the top/ Let the world see what you have got’.
Mawkish and schmaltzy?
…but there is a sense in which this current group of players must ‘Let the world see what you have got/Bring it all back to you’.
Time now begin gearing up for the onslaught…with cliché after cliché springing to mind.
‘Marathons, not sprints’, ‘slow and steady’, ‘eggs and basket’, ‘counting chickens’ and so it goes on.
But at least today sees the start of the build up to league rugby .
The Olney 7s.
I’ve not been before, but I’m going today. It’s a chance to see a bit of live rugby, even if it means I’ll be reduced to listening to The Lions on the radio on the way down.
Two Cov teams and a host of new players playing in what, by all accounts, is a very friendly and welcoming environment at Olney.
I might not have gone had Cov been entering just the one team.
For me, the most interesting part of the day will be watching the Development Academy players in action in the B squad under the watchful eyes of Brendan Burke and Matt Price. They will be overseeing their coaching over the course of next season and with so many exciting now part of the DA, it’s an opportunity to see some talented players who might yet make it into Coventry’s first team before too long.
I also imagine that given Matt Price’s competitive nature, there might be a bit of friendly banter between himself and Phil Boulton and Sam Tuitupou who are in charge of the A squad. If the Development Academy should progress further than the senior squad, the journey back home could be an interesting one!
For info (from the Cov official website):
Club captain Phil Boulton and Sam Tuitupou will manage the A squad of Nile Dacres, Heath Stevens, Scott Tolmie, Brett Daynes, Pete White, Will Maisey, Rob Knox, James Stokes, Max Trimble, Alex Grove, Ben Palmer, Cliffie Hodgson and Tom Jubb.
Supporting the senior group is a B squad, managed by Matt Price and Brendan Burke, of Development Academy players comprising Jake Byrne, Will Priestley, Cameron Gray, Kailus Hutchinson, Tom Price, Connor Adams, Sam Payne, Ollie Russell, James Neal, Kwaku Asiedu, Josh Palmer and Max Titchener.
I’m looking forward to a great day out, a chance to watch Cov again and hopefully see one of the teams progress into the final stages…although despite the many familiar names’ they are both very much scratch sides.
Up the Cov!
Whilst I won’t ‘tweet’ to the extent I would on a normal match day, I’ll certainly put the half-time/final scores of both the A and B squad games on Twitter, together with anything else that might be of interest.
If people try to put you down
Just walk on by don’t turn around
You only have to answer to yourself
And here it is…
…if ever there was a earworm, this is it.
(My daughters will be so proud of me)