Club talk

Cov v Moseley -Well are you ready for this? We ready for this…

Well are you ready for this?
We ready for this
Are you ready for this?
We ready for this
Well we just can’t miss
Just can’t miss
Well we just can’t miss

KRS One – Are You Ready For This

I freely admit, I am passionate about Coventry Rugby Club.

Not quite obsessive…not at the moment, anyway.

Certainly not compulsive, either.

And as far as I know, supporting Cov hasn’t yet resulted in any disorder.

And whilst the writing of the blog is time-consuming, it is not all-consuming.

It is a hobby, nothing more.

My family is my raison d’etre. My love of Cov, of which the blog is but a part, is simply one of my real pleasures in life.

And yes, the blog does take time out of every day, but I think I have the balance just about right.

I write late in the evening and into the early hours so that it’s doesn’t impact greatly on my day or on those I  love. It is a routine now, and as is the case with many routines, it is a source of comfort. I write for my own enjoyment, and the blog remains as it always has been, a selfish act of personal appeasement.

It is calming, it adds purpose to my day and above all it has given me  an interest at a time of my life when I needed one most. Retirement can be a lonely time…but not mine.

As much as I have put into the blog, so it has given back – I have met many new people, chatted facelessly to a lot more and out of it I have made one or two, I hope, lasting friendships.

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

A few hours ago, I was at the ground sitting alongside a score of other supporters in the main stand, watching the squad go through its final training session before tomorrow’s game against Moseley. It was a happy place to be, with the conversation inevitably focused on everyone’s thoughts about how the game might pan out.

The was an excitement there, a real buzz that I’ve not really felt before at those Thursday evening sessions, well perhaps on the pitch, but certainly not in the stands. Four men and a dog, quite literally on occasions, isn’t conducive to creating a great atmosphere.

At times what was happening out on the pitch, right in front of us, was secondary to the chat and the laughter that emanated from a group of supporters that were just caught in the moment…

There was plenty of discussion about the game and, although clearly suffering from a good dose of man ‘flu, Rowland Winter came up and sat with the group for some time, happy to talk about the game, about team selection and the way Cov might look to play the game.

He gave us an outline of the opposition, about their strengths and how we might counter them, and how we might look to exploit any perceived areas of weakness. He discussed current injuries and the changes we might expect to see in the team in the next couple of games…there wasn’t a question that he wouldn’t answer.

He discussed wider issues too about recruitment, about contracts and how already the club are having too look at recruitment for next season and how DoRs of the top teams in National One will have two lists, one if the club remains in National One and another if things go as they hope.

Somehow, his relaxed, informal approach with supporters, his ability to chat with us and make us feel part of the process, was entirely in keeping with the occasion. It’s been a week of increasing excitement and as each day has passed so the anticipation has grown.

They are the old enemy, the team we love to hate but whom secretly we respect and admire. The two teams have been through so much together and in many respects the fortunes of both have run in parallel with each other…

The glory years to the gory years…and back.

Or so we hope, for Cov first, and with Mose not to far behind.

RW appreciates what games against Moseley mean to Cov supporters; he understands the history between the two teams. He gets it when others in the past just haven’t seemed to appreciate in quite the same way.

And his presence yesterday, when he sat for so long alongside the supporters, was almost a tacit acknowledgement of just what this game meant to the fans. Whereas it’s probably just another game to RW, albeit it a very important one, it is something much, much more to supporters who have been watching Cov a good few decades now. But he sat and listened and never judged, at least not openly…he certainly didn’t preach, although if he had, it would have been to the converted.

Supporters are notoriously fickle, in any sport, but there are ways of getting them on your side and Rowland Winter has won over most of the doubters purely by being open and honest. In the past, DoRs at Cov haven’t been great at communicating with supporters and have, more often than not, given the impression it’s not actually part of their remit to do so. But that isn’t the case with the current management team, with Nick Walshe also happy to come into the stand at the end of the session and chat away. Jon Sharp, too, came over to say hello and stayed for a bit. He left early, to paraphrase his words, ‘to look for the Valium for Saturday’.

These days ‘Your City Your Club’ is also becoming ‘This Club is Your Club’, which for me has a pretty good sound to it…

By opening up to the supporters and making your self potentially vulnerable, you are actually strengthening your own position, something that recent DoRs failed to learn. Training was always a closed shop and there was never any opportunity to talk in the way there is these days.

The better informed you are, the better you understand why certain decisions are made, ones that might otherwise have seen inexplicable. Few decisions are now questioned because we know the motives behind them, which is one of the reasons why the Messageboard is so quiet these days.

The coaches and players all seem excited about the game tomorrow. A game between Coventry and Moseley might not be steeped in quite so much history for the players as it is us supporters, but it is still one heck of an occasion. By my reckoning, 6 of the players in the Coventry match day squad will have played for Moseley in the last couple of seasons or so (Tolmie, Dacres, Oram, Preece, Brazier and Grove) so they will know exactly what to expect.

Of those, Oram, Preece, Brazier and Grove in particular will be out to prove a point – namely that they made the right choice by leaving Moseley at the end of last season to join Cov. All will have  experienced the cauldron that is the BPA in these local derbies and I’m sure they’ll be relieved to have that wall of noise urging them forward, rather than having to run into it when they played for the opposition.

Coventry v Moseley is always a special occasion and the game is going to be a lot closer I fear than many are predicting. On paper, player for player, Coventry surely has the stronger team and even though Moseley had an impressive game against a decent Worcester side during the pre-season, the form books clearly show Cov are in poll position.

But form and reputations go out of the window in these sorts of games and if we make the same sort of start as we did last week against Hull and go a couple of tries down early on, well a Moseley side, especially with such a strong back row, could  make it a very difficult afternoon for Cov indeed. Rolling-maul.com’s prediction thread has it as 31-3 in favour of a home win – which is far too one-sided for my liking.

Cov have to go into the game as favourites, but not by that margin, surely.

It’s going to be a special atmosphere, an atmosphere that is self-generating simply because the fixture is, in itself, so special. No matter the scoreline or the quality of the game, the very nature of the rivalry always makes a Coventry v Moseley fixture different from any other.

There are always some moments in sport that transcend time, that live with you for the rest of your life. I was lucky enough to watch Bob Willis take his 8-43 at Headingley and Alex Higgins win a world championship snooker final and England beat the All Blacks back in 1993.  They were all, if not one-offs, then very rare sporting moments…

But somehow any Coventry v Moseley game is up there with those great moments for me…they are all very special indeed. The build up helps create the anticipation for sure, but to be in the ground when it’s virtually empty and hear the buzz grow as it fills is something else.

When Cov leave the pitch and, hopefully, run in front of the main stand on their way back to the changing room with five minutes to go before kick off, then I just know the roar of the Cov crowd will make the hairs on the back of my neck tingle – it might only be a couple of  thousand or so shouting encouragement to Cov, to our Cov, but it is still a magical moment.

And it’s well worth the sore throat and gruff voice come Sunday morning.

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

The Cov players are but masters of their own fate.

Leave fate to itself and more often than not it will hand you a bum deal…which is why Cov need to control the game and not worry too much about Moseley.

I believe that if we play as well as we know we can, and Moseley do the same, we will win. We have too much strength across the whole team – but if we don’t believe in ourselves and if  allow Moseley to dominate, then it becomes so much harder.

Narraway, Makaafi, Tuitupou, Nilsen and Grove were recruited not just because they are all potential game changers, but because they have all the experience to dictate a game, to control play and ensure that the less experienced players in the team have leaders out there to look up to.

This is their first big test…it’s  where we begin to see just how good a side Cov might be in this league. We proved against Hull that we have the ability to dominate weaker sides, but can we do so against teams expected to be near the top of the league next April?

Performances against Rotherham and Hull suggest we probably can, but at 3.00 pm tomorrow they count for very little.

This is the hour, this is the time.

So, are you ready for this….

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

This week’s poll asked you to name the player from the last two seasons whom you would most have enjoyed watching play for Cov in their rugby prime.

The top 3 were:

Sam Tuitupou- 38%

Boris Stankovich – 32%

Latu Makaafi –10%

Any of those would have done me  – and two of them start tomorrow. Let’s hope they roll back the years and Moseley get to see just why Coventry have brought them to the BPA for the next couple of season…

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

The blog goes House…

…so tell me…

Cov v Moseley – Are you ready for this?

 

or:

The blog goes down with the ‘hood:

Are you ready for this?
We ready for this
Well we just can’t miss
Just can’t miss
Well we just can’t miss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories:Club talk

5 replies »

  1. I’m embarrassed to say that I could not get to sleep last night for thinking about this game……!
    Roll on Saturday at 3pm

    Come on Cov

    Like

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