Match talk

When Saturday comes…

When Saturday comes
Nothing else matters to me
When Saturday comes
You got to wear your heart on your sleeve
When Saturday comes
Nothing else matters to me

When Saturday comes
The winner takes it all 

DEF LEPPARD – When Saturday Comes

Last weekend seems such a long time ago now, partly because I haven’t been down to training this week, something I would normally try and do once or twice a week, one of the very many benefits of being retired.

This week, however, players were given the Monday off following the trip to Jersey and on Thursday I was otherwise engaged, so I’ve been starved of my mid-week fix somewhat.

The shakes have returned, as have the cold sweats, so I’m hoping the double-header today will rid me of any further symptoms.Both teams look surprisingly strong and the Coventry coaches appear to have shown a good deal of respect to both the visiting  teams by selecting all the available players from the full squad, with no one rested at all, despite opposition from the league below and the prospect of a very physical game next week against Rotherham.

And that’s great news for the spectators, too.

In the lunchtime opener against Broadstreet, what amounts to the 2nd xv still looks a strong side, with 5 of the full squad involved and captained by Cliffie Hodgson. Were all the squad to be fit, by my reckoning there are another 5 players at least who could be added to the side (allowing for 20 in the main match day squad and 2 travelling/non-travelling reserves).

If needs must, as they probably will against the three Championship sides that have teams in the Zoo Sports Shield  (Div 1), Cov could add even more experience to the side, so there is some real strength in depth, although I imagine the ideal scenario is to include a majority of development players, from the gold and silver groups, together with a small number of seasoned players from the full squad, as is the case today.

Indeed, in the official announcement of the teams on the official website, Rowland Winter makes the point that

There will be a lot of players on both sides who have come through the Coventry and Warwickshire rugby pathway, and it will be a real opportunity to showcase local rugby talent.

and that it:

show(s) our strength in depth, highlighting the quality of the young players within our Development Academy.

And indeed it does, with several of the players facing Broadstreet having already trained with the full squad and played alongside them in one or more of the pre-season games, including Neal, Gray, Hutchinson, MacNulty and Asiedu.

There are plenty of names that I don’t recognise, especially on the bench – hopefully, the team sheet should clear up whether they are guesting, on trial or already members of the Development Squad.

Nathanael Titchard-jones

I’m pleased to see the likes of Andy Brown and Harry Morley in the front row today. Broadstreet will have plenty of experience in the forwards and so their presence will add, quite literally, some weight to what is a pretty inexperienced pack otherwise, although one that has so much potential. I imagine Andy Brown will feature regularly in the full squad on a match day, but his presence in the first of the two games today gives a chance for the coaches to have another look at Nathanael Titchard-jones and presumably Gabriel Oghre, too.

Following what is the second 1st XV selection of the pre-season, I think we have a pretty good idea now of the players Rowland Winter and the coaches see as competing for places in the match day squad against Hull in a couple of weeks’ time.

The squad is beginning to have a more settled feel to it, but I certainly wouldn’t read too much into the starting XV as it looks as if the coaches have decided to begin the game with the players who came off the bench against Jersey last week (Nilsen for Tolmie, Brazier for White, Povoas for Preece, Makaafi for the injured Daynes, Grove for Stevens and Matoto for Asiedu who has moved to the Development Squad).

Although I’ve been really impressed with Cameron Gray, a player who will surely be playing first team rugby before too long, I hope ?George Oram gets a run out this afternoon. He’s been out with an injury for a while now and is someone I’d like to see available once the National One games start in September. If he can produce the kind of form that he showed playing against us for Moseley and when representing the English Counties last season, he’ll certainly push Tom Poole and Nile Dacres for a starting place in the side.

The team selected to face Sale FC does look particularly strong and if it plays as well defensively as we saw against Jersey last week, the opposition are going to find it difficult to put Coventry under pressure in our own 22.

Of all the players I’m most looking forward to seeing out there tomorrow, I think it has to be Latu Makaafi. He was immense when he came on last week and his physical, in-your-face, approach to the game is going to be something I can’t help but think Cov supporters will quickly take to. The warmth he was shown by Jersey supporters, for whom he played before Doncaster, was evident from the moment he came on to the pitch and if he stays fit, he’ll definitely be a crowd favourite before too long.

One final thought – it would be good if the club could give the Development/Academy/2nd XV an official name other than Coventry. Both sides are down as Coventry in the  post announcing today’s team on the website, something which potentially could be somewhat confusing on the day.

 

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

On the eve of the first double header of many this season and what happens…?

It pours down with rain.

The rugby league games, along with the  odd Cov United  fixture and Cov training sessions that have taken place on the Butts pitch during the summer months  appear to have had no detrimental effects so far, with no apparent signs of wear to damage to the turf as yet.

Eric Richardson seems to have done a fantastic job to get the pitch looking in as good a condition as I can remember it – for which he deserves a lot of praise and huge respect.

A muddy pitch though and two consecutive games of competitive rugby might make for a different story. Hopefully, with relatively little in the way of rain in the preceding weeks and the drainage being good, the pitch will remain relatively firm with no damage tomorrow resulting from twice as many rucks, mauls and scrums as one might normally expect on any given Saturday.

Such heavy rain isn’t ideal though…we could do with a couple of dryish months before we have to start worrying about mud baths.

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

Just a brief reminder that if you are still intending to enter the Predictions Competition 2017, then I’ll be at the game this evening should you want to compete the entry by hand rather than email.

The questions can be found below and the link to the form follows. Please do give it a go, it only takes a minute or two to complete and you can either email it to me or submit it by hand at one of the pre-season friendlies.

There will be a cup awarded to the winner…

(The figures in red at the end of each question refer to the 2016/17 results – they might help as a starting point for your answers…):

All questions refer to end-of-season predictions:

1 Total number of Coventry tries scored (130)                           
2 Total number of tries conceded (98)                                       
3 Tries scored at home (79)                                                             
4 Average home attendance (1263)                                               
5 Highest home attendance (2712)                                                
6 Most points scored by Cov in a match (73)

7 Most individual points scored in a match (22)                                         
8 Total number of league points scored by Cov (101)           
9 Total points scored for Cov  (974)                                             
10 Total points scored against Cov (738)                                       
11 Number of bonus points won by Cov (17)                          
12 Number of points scored by leading points scorer (244)
13 Number of tries scored by leading try scorer (10)          
14 Total number of yellow cards conceded (25)                    

Tie break question: What will be the official home attendance vs Moseley 

Scoring:

All questions other than 7, 10, 12 and 13 – answers ranked and then points awarded. So, if there are 15 people involved in the competition, the nearest gets 15 points and furthest away gets just 1…
Questions 6, 10, 12 and 13 – spot on 5 points, within 1 either way, 3, within 2 either way, 2, and within 3 either way, 1. Outside of 3 either way, no points scored.

The Winner

The winner will be the person with the highest total score and said person will be awarded a trophy. In the unlikely even

If you would like to enter, please use the link below that will take you to a form  – this should be filled in using a word processor and emailed to me (tim92smith@btinternet.com) or completed by hand and submitted directly to me at the ground by the final pre-season game, (Rotherham Titans on 26th August).

If you don’t know who I am, I’ll be the bloke with the camera snapping away during the pre-match warm-up…usually looking cold and grumpy.

So here’s the link to the form…

Predictions competition 2017

Please don’t forget to include your name and an email address if possible…

Good luck…

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

I’ll tweet some updates from the games for those not able to attend.

If you’re only coming to the Sale game, then you can at least keep up-to-date with the scores from the opener against Broadstreet.

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.
I can be found at @CowshedTim

Up the Cov!

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

The magic and the mystery
Out here on this field of dreams

When Saturday Comes

Def Leppard – from the eponymous film.

Hoping to see plenty of magic, if not a little mystery, out on the filed of dreams that is the BPA today –

 

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