Getting into the groove as Cov look to continue the run…
Get into the groove
Boy you’ve got to prove
Your love to me, yeah
Get up on your feet, yeah
Step to the beat
Boy what will it be
Madonna – Into The Groove
I’m such a plonker…
Every season when the fixture list is first published, I always make a careful note of when the away games are, writing them in the diary so that Sue knows it’s not a good idea to entertain, or accept invitations, on Saturdays when I’m likely to be traveling to watch Cov.
On such occasions, if we go out a Friday evening or a Sunday is usually the norm.
So if we’re doing anything on a Saturday, it’s invariably means Cov are at home.
As is the case tomorrow.
Normally, then, not a problem.
Except this weekend it’s a double-header with the Development Team’s game starting after the main event, rather than before as is usually the case. A five o’clock kick off would mean that I wouldn’t get home before 7.30 pm and I would be pushing my luck to suggest we delay going out until nearer 9.00.
Even I know my limits…or rather Sue’s, in this case!
To be fair, the club did announce the later start weeks ago. I’d just forgotten all about it.
As I said, I’m such a plonker.
So no Development game for me today. And I’m gutted really as it’s a while since I’ve seen the youngsters play and in the last few weeks they’ve put in a couple of very encouraging performances.
I’m still really interested to see how, in the absence of Wheatcroft and Hodgson, the backs perform – Ben Palmer will take on some added responsibility as far as leading the line is concerned, which is no bad thing in terms of developing his own game.
The 11-15 combination of Roach, Neal, McNulty, Titchener and Asiedu has such an exciting look to it and I’ll definitely be speaking to Sam (who seems to have his life rather better organised than mine at the moment) on Sunday to see how they got on.
There’s still Price and Setu in the forwards (with Jubby on the bench) to bring some added experience to the team, but otherwise the pack, too, has a really young and inexperienced (relatively) look to it, but it does contain players who have already started to impress the coaches enough for them to train with the senior squad.
Despite my own calendar malfunction, I do hope that the later start to the game means that many of those who will watch the National One game will stay on and take an opportunity to look at the Development Team. It might well be a very good move for the club, with sales of drinks and refreshments hopefully increasing as a result.
Gutted I’ll miss it…
…but at least I will be there to watch the senior side.
And I have to say, I am rather looking forward to it.
I am, as Madonna would say…
…I’m get(ting) into the groove.
I’m not sure what the symptoms of withdrawal from watching Cov are, but if they have anything to do with a decreased attention span, increased irascibility and a feeling of nausea at the weekends, then I’m probably suffering from them.
The team news has only added to my excitement. Sam Tuitupou back and Anthony Matoto and Cameron Gray making their first league starts.
Rowland Winter mentioned at training on Thursday that Gray was very close to making a start even without an injury to Nile Dacres and, although obviously Dacres will be missed, Cameron Gray will add something different to the pack – being that much physically bigger than Dacres (which surprised me), he’ll actually add more size and weight.
His dad wrote in some detail in a comment in this blog about why the decision was made to let Cameron play for the Wasps’ A team (see 7/9/2017) and by all accounts the training, including strength and conditioning work, he has been doing over at Broadstreet has benefitted him greatly. I know he is a great favourite with the supporters who watch the training on a Thursday evening at Cov and when Rowland Winter mentioned he was starting there was plenty of positive remarks, even though it meant Dacres was out.
Whilst it’s not quite all change in the back row again, the inclusion of Daynes and Povoas for Makaafi and Preece seems a sensible one. Although it didn’t quite work out as planned against OA (although Waita Setu came in for Luke Narraway as well), this time the decision to keep Narraway at 8 means there’s experience there this time round should it be needed. Jack Preece is on the bench so if a plan B is required, it’s there.
However, at home and in far more favourable conditions than over at OA, I don’t imagine it will be. Anyone who has been a regular reader of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of both Povoas and Daynes and whilst the sight of Latu bearing down on the opposition is always going to live in the memory, Daynes in particular embodies the Cov spirit for me – he rarely has anything but a good game and even when he has come off the bench he has always impressed, both defensively and as a ball carrier.
The super-sub gets his chance. I’d love to see him have a stormer.
Despite the presence of Jack Preece in the squad (arguably the most influential of the signings this season), Olly Povoas deserves his place. He played out of his skin on a number of occasions in the run-in to the end of last season and I don’t think anyone trained as hard as he did over the Summer. I watch him several times at the Summerhill Lane training ground as he fought his way back to fitness and I was so impressed with the dedication and commitment he showed during pre-season.
A back row of Narraway, Makaafi and Preece is always going to be our strongest selection at the moment, but we are so lucky to have Daynes, Povoas and Setu as understudies. To be honest, I kind of hoped Setu might play as well as I have yet to see him in the senior side. His time will come and once he gets a run in the team, he’ll be hard to shift, although it won’t necessary be at No 8, the position he’s playing today for the Development side.
A quick word on Luke Narraway – I’ve been really impressed with the way he has fitted into the squad, although given his background it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Although he’s not going to standout on the pitch in quite the way that Latu does, his influence is immense. Defensively, he works extremely hard, but he also leads by example, something that was very evident in the Hull game when we went a couple of tries down very early on but, after 15 minutes or so, he started to take control with a couple of strong breaks and from then on we just carried on doing what we had set out to do that day…no panic, no knee jerk response. He led and others followed.
And in training on Thursday he worked with the forwards looking at defending and attacking around the 5m line and he was clearly pleased with what he saw. The work done by the coaches on defence in the second half of last season made big difference and we stopped leaking unnecessary points – Narraway has continued where they left off and the defence this season has been outstanding.
Up to this afternoon, anyway…
Cov should have enough in the tank to see off what will be a resilient Bishop’s Stortford side and Cov will doubtless have to work extremely hard to break the visitors down. That said, Cov have the knack of scoring tries even when they’re not playing at their best and their power up front, together with the attacking flair they possess out wide, should see them run out comfortable winners.
Good luck to all involved.
One last thing from Thursday’s chat with Rowland Winter…
…I did ask him where he watches the game from as he’s often not in the technical area or down with the players. He confirmed that he tends to watch from the back of the main stand in each half, coming down 5-10 minutes before half time/full-time. However, if he feels things aren’t going quite to plan, he’ll go down earlier – I guess his presence amongst the coaches will focus the players that much more if he’s there before the final few minutes of each half.
So, keep your eyes peeled on the around the Cov technical area – if you see him there other than when mentioned above, you’ll know he’s not happy with something…
…probably today’s post, if nothing else…
‘If you had to be tackled by one of the current crop of senior players, who would you least like it to be?’…
…a question asked by one of the supporters at training.
Some opted for Latu, others (like me) went for Sammy…
But then there’s Heath Stevens, or Tom Poole, or even Olly P – and I imagine I’ll be adding Matoto to the list after today’s game, too.
You wouldn’t fancy your chances against any player really, would you?
Still think Sammy would be the one to fear most, though.
Anyway, if you’re not able to make it to the game at the BPA today but want to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in real time, other than just updates of the scores, please let me know and I’ll be happy to tweet regularly from the game.
The tweets, when combined, make a crude ‘commentary’ of sorts. Be warned though, you might get well over a 100 tweets during the course of the game, so if that is too much @CoventryRugby will probably offer score updates. I’m not sure if Bishop’s Stortford has it’s own Twitter feed, but it might be worth checking.
Please bear in mind, I am a bit one-eyed when I tweet, covering more than just the scores as they occur… usually there are other choices available though, depending what it is that you’re looking for.
I’m on @Cowshedtim
Apologies in advance for some of the typos that appear. It all gets a bit fast and furious at times and I’m all fat fingers and fat thumbs, sadly getting fatter by the week.
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.
Madonna is a year and a day older than me…but looking much better on it. Must be all that tantric malarkey .
Anyway…let’s hope Cov get quickly into their groove today and make it 6 in a row this season…
The video is from the Live Aid concert in ’85 from Philadelphia