The Friendlies – Season 3: Episode 5 – the one with the Village People

Young man, there’s no need to feel down
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground
I said, young man, cause you’re in a new town
There’s no need to be unhappy
Young man, there’s a place you can go

You can stay there, and I’m sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time

The Village People – YMCA

Saturday 8th April, 2017.

Newbold 75 Ilkeston 0

And a historic day for the Midlands One club as it achieved promotion into national league rugby for the first time in its history.

A club that describes itself as a ‘village’ team and finished its report of the Ilkeston game with the immortal line:

So, The Village People and their entourage are coming to National rugby’s clubs. Those clubs really should brace themselves.

Theirs is a great story and we can only wish them well in National 3 this season. It’s good to see another local team keen to rebuild its links with Coventry and vice versa, links one hopes will be for the good of both clubs in the future.

But this weekend Newbold has the small matter of a game against Coventry’s Development Academy side to contend with, a side that comprehensively beat National 2 opposition last weekend and is playing the kind of rugby that might well challenge one or two of the weaker National One sides.

So, Macho Men of Newbold, Go West to the BPA, past the YMCA (where its fun to stay), enjoy the game and then sit down and watch Cov’s senior squad, the ones In The Navy against Rotherham.

We’re all Citizens of the World here…

I did so enjoy that…


And Coventry has paid Newbold the highest possible compliment of all by putting out a side that on paper is arguably even stronger than the one that faced Sale last Saturday.

Too be honest, I fear for Newbold a little.

If that sounds somewhat patronising, well it really isn’t meant to be.

But with the likes of Hodgson, Wheatcroft and Palmer in the backs and Titchard-jones, Price and Jubb in the forwards, the Development Academy has quality and experience spread throughout the team. Last season, with the exception of Tj, these were players playing regularly in National One and most of them have Championship experience as well.

Even without the senior squad players involved, we have seen just how well this side can play and, for most of the second half last week, the pack, containing only Cameron Gray from the senior squad, was totally  dominant against a bigger and more experienced Broadstreet scrum.

And Cameron Gray is still only 20!

There’s no Brown or Morley in the front row as was the case last week, although Titchard-jones at loose-head played against Sale last week and more than held his own, and the pairing of Jubb and Hutchinson in the second row means that the forwards won’t miss Gray’s absence too much as he is moved up onto the senior bench for the Rotherham game.

However, it is the back row that probably holds the most interest for me this week.

Last week the combination of Michael Ryan, Tom Price and Sam McNulty became more and more involved as the game went on and all three created problems for ‘Street, both defensively and in attack. Michael Ryan, having been promoted into the gold group is rested (or injured?) this week, allowing Waita Setu his first game in a Cov shirt.

For a while now, I’ve stopped posting YouTube clips of players associated with Cov – it’s all too easy to edit in your best moments of a season and create something that would have even the Premiership coaches drooling – but Waita’s highlights are impressive and well worth watching.

If you haven’t seen this before,  fast forward to the 56 second mark and see why he might be just the sort of player who would be welcomed at any National One club. With Jack Preece in the squad as well, Cov has two players who are going to win you key ball at the breakdown, something last season we struggled to do at times – especially on away days to London.


And then just enjoy the rest – the offloads, the big hits, and ability to stay on his feet after the tackle…although, he’s gone under the radar a little with his late arrival and the fact that so many other of the new recruits have performed well, I can’t help but feel Waita is going to be a real force in National One this season.

Whether he’ll need a few weeks to get used to the game over here before he’s in contention for a start is unclear, but he’ll definitely make his presence felt. Playing at 8 today is interesting, aside from Luke Narraway there isn’t another specialist 8, although Latu would fulfil the role comfortable…but Latu at 6, Waila at 8 and Jack Preece at 7 would make an interesting combination in the absence of Narraway…

Ryan and MacNulty should benefit from having Waita alongside them and they might well enjoy the afternoon the longer it goes on. I can’t see Waita playing more than 40 minutes given his arrival on Tuesday, so it’s still very early days for him, but he’ll want to lay down a marker early for the coaches. With so much competition in the back row he’s got to impress early on whilst places are still up for grabs in the opening games.

The backs impressed across the board last week, with Ben Palmer controlling the game effectively and showing that he is just as much a line-breaker as Will Maisey and probably an even better kicker out of hand. It’s a long, long season and I certainly expect to see his name on the team sheet at some point before Christmas.

Two of the standout players last week, mainly because they were pretty much unknown to me before the game, were Joe Lane and Louis Roach.

Roach is another recruit from Moseley and playing a few games for them when they were in the Championship (I think) before injury and a move to the Bees last season meant his career stalled somewhat. He is still only 21 and judging by his performance last week, he is keen to push on once again. He’s been pretty prominent in one or two of the training sessions too, so  it wouldn’t surprise me to find in a couple of months time that he’s another one who will be promoted into the gold group. He’s out on the wing today, along with Max Titchener.

Max is someone who looks very confident when in possession, but last week he didn’t get to see a great deal of the ball when he came on at half time (ish). He starts today and hopefully with the ball being given plenty of width, Max will get the opportunity to show everyone what an exciting young prospect he is.

It’s hard not to predict there being a lot of tries, especially if the weather holds as it looks likely to do. For many of the players in the Development Academy side today, it will be the biggest crowd they’ve played in front of for a club game. Last week there were probably 400 in the main stand by half time and with the prospect of watching what should be an intriguing match up in the following game when the senior squad takes on Rotherham, it should pull in an even bigger crowd for today’s opener. Everyone will want to impress so I’m expecting a quick tempo from the start with Coventry looking to run the ball at every opportunity.

This is the last weekend’s rugby at the Butts before the Moseley game – how different will the atmosphere be then!

Those that do come today are sure for some entertaining rugby, and given that the Newbold game comes at no additional cost, it makes sense to get to the ground early, get a drink and a bite to eat and gorge yourself on two games rather than just the one. It seems more than likely that there will be a number of the  players in the Development Academy who will make the step up into the first team squad over the next couple of seasons, so to be there at the very start of their time at Cov and see them rise up through the Academy and into the senior squad makes it all the more interesting as a spectator.


So the Village People will descend upon Coventry this afternoon, then?

So, to even it up and especially for all the Academy players today…

Young man, are you listening to me?

You can stay here, and I’m sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time…

…It’s fun to play at the CBPA*

*CPBA – Coventry Butts Park Arena

Now, surely that’s something everyone could sing along to…? And I bet you sang in in your head…

A club anthem in the making…

…Coventry get the bonus point against Moseley before half time and 200o thousand plus fans burst into a 10 second rendition of The Village People’s YMCA, Cov style, with the actions to match. That would be a sight. Expect to see a few native American Indian chiefs, construction workers, soldiers, bikers. policemen and the odd cowboy dotted around the ground as well..


This weekend sees your last chance to enter the Predictions Competition 2017 – I’l need to receive your completed form by the end of tomorrow.  I’ll be at the game today should you want to give in 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 


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 ( 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…


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

If you’re only coming to the Rotherham game, then you can at least keep up-to-date with the scores from the opener against Newbold (Thanks, Paul). I’ll probably tweet in more detail during the second game.

Warren and friends following the game via @Cowhedtim’s Twitter feed…


Be warned – I’ve a new phone that I haven’t quite got to grips with yet, so I’m not sure how the predictive text is going to cope this afternoon!

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter or don’t have an account, then on the homepage of this blog (, 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!


As if there could be anything else to end this with….





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