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The Jam – News of the World
Very many thanks to everyone who took part in the two ‘Man of the Match’ polls over the weekend. Please excuse the delay in getting the results out – yesterday’s post took longer than I’d intended and, given the content, I felt it was probably best to delay them for 24 hours.
So, here they are…
Coventry v Bishop’s Stortford
The results of the votes are as follows:
James Stokes – 63%
Luke Narraway – 12%
Sam Tuitupou– 6%
It just had to be.
Not only did James Stokes win it by a distance, but looking back over all the previous MoM polls, he won it by the biggest margin so far.
His was a near perfect display on the day. It’s easy to forget just what a good player he is at this level.
He’s as good under the high ball as any Cov player I can recall since we’ve been in this league and he’s also pretty fearless in the tackle. One of my abiding memories of last season is the Cambridge hooker over at theirs breaking clear and on the charge with only James Stokes as the last line of defence.
The hooker, whose name I can’t recall and probably never knew, was more of a Scott Tolmie than a Phil Nilsen.
This is what I wrote in the post the next day…
There was one moment that encapsulated it all really…in the first half the Cambridge hooker powered free and made good metres, finding himself with a clear run and with only James Stokes between him and the line (although it was a distance away!).
Irresistible force v immoveable object.
You could tell Stokes was preparing for the impact well before it occurred. He was going to give no quarter and it was a thumping hit…
…and the Cambridge hooker required some assistance from the physios to get him back up on his feet.
A ‘concerned’ Stokes walked across and there was a grudging tap of the hands, but it was very much Stokes 1 – Cambridge hooker 0.
Rowland Winter later told me that the two had shared a house whilst James was at Cambridge and there was never any doubt that Stokesy would make that tackle, there was just too much at stake.
But it’s his attacking play that makes him such a favourite with the crowd and there have been few players whom I can think of in Coventry’s recent (and even not so recent) pass who have caused quite the buzz of excitement within the Coventry crowd that he does when he gets the ball in a bit of space.
He has great acceleration and he’s also capable of that little bit of magic, too. He can sidestep/swerve and, as we saw on Saturday, he can use the dummy pass to great effect. He also has the out-and-out pace to beat defences and he can hold that pace over some distance.
On top of that has a great right foot on him and is an astute kicker of the ball.
He unnerves defences and his presence often creates uncertainty in the opposition which can present opportunities for the rest of the backline, too.
At the moment JS heads the National One try scorers list with Dom Lespierre, both of whom have 8 tries. Dom is fine player, a natural finisher who is very quick and agile, but he lacks some of the qualities that make Stokes such an asset.
It should be an interesting afternoon when we go down to Old Elthamiams next month!
The last try JS scored was something quite special, a thing of beauty…and in the context of the game, and of the season so far, it was doubly important. He is the man for the moment.
I’m sure this won’t be the last of these awards he picks up…
Well done James Stokes.
Both Luke Narraway and Sammy Tuitupou had strong games and would have been much closer to picking up the award in most other games, but on the day JS’s performance was out of the top drawer.
I’m particularly pleased for Luke – Cov supporters seem to be warming to him more and more as they see the impact he is making, both on and off the pitch. He might not be quite such a ‘visible’ no 8 in the way Jacques Le Roux was, but he makes the hard yards, is exceptionally strong in defence and is a real leader on the pitch and he’s the sort of player who seems to bring out the best in others.
Luke’s experience is making a real difference this season and is one of the reasons I believe that we have the best defensive record in the league at the moment.
Coventry Development v Bishop’s Stortford
The results of the votes are as follows:
Kwaku Asiedu – 22%
Sam McNulty – 14%
Tom Price – 12%.
Kwaku Asiedu is certainly impressing supporters since he joined us at the start of the season.
Ex-Hartpury, he might well have been a regular match day member of their all-conquering squad last season had it not been for a lengthy injury that put him out for most of the year.
He’s very popular amongst the supporters in the area I sit and the feeling is that he’ll have far more opportunities at senior level the more season progresses. He’s obviously a very powerful runner and quick, too (the quickest in the club, I think – or at least was when everyone was tested), but he is still learning and will benefit by playing a few games at this level before moving up into the full squad.
I can’t comment on the reasons behind the award as far as this game is concerned, given I saw so little of it, but he did score Cov’s only try, other than the penalty try awarded in the final seconds of the game to level the scores.
Kwaku is a great prospect and perhaps epitomises exactly what the Development Squad is about – we need to bring on players like him if we are to have the depth of squad we’ll need over the course of a long and difficult season.
So far the signs are promising.
Well done Kwaku.
Having spoken to Quent Melhuish (Supporters’ Club Secretary), I thought I’d highlight a couple of things pertaining to the trip down to Cambridge at the end of the month (28/10).
Firstly, be warned, if you’re intending to travel down by coach it is already over half full and if, like me, you don’t usually get around to organising transport until after the game the weekend before, then it might well be that you’re too late.
Last season, other than perhaps the final game, there were always one or two seats left empty on the coaches, but after hopefully a couple more wins in the weeks leading up to the Cambridge fixture, this might no longer be the case.
It speaks volumes for the current interest in the club and if we continue to top the league, the travelling support will only get stronger.
How long before we take two coaches down with us?
Quent, together with Paul Ingleston and Steve Hood, worked exceptionally hard to get the coaches up and running last season and on a personal note, it saved me a small fortune in rail fares – so a big thank you to them (and anyone else I should have mentioned).
Even for someone like myself, something of a social isolate at times, the coach trips are extremely relaxed and I actually look forward to them – it’s very much part of the away-day match experience these days. If you haven’t been to away with the Supporters’ Club and would like to do so, Cambridge would be an ideal trip to start with. Distance-wise it’s not too far and it is a fantastic place to visit, probably the friendliest of all the grounds we go to, and there are many that fall in that category.
We have a ‘special’ relationship now with ‘Blood and Sand’ as Rowland Winter was previously DoR at Cambridge, and he brought with him several of their better players at the time (of which James Stokes was but one).
Several of the Cambridge supporters, including the senior club officials, follow Cov games via Twitter on a match day and I almost get a sense of pride on their part at their role in helping Cov move forward. Certainly it is a very far cry from the deep-seated rivalry between ourselves and Mose!
I know Cambridge has been in touch with our Supporters Club and have offered a really generous pre-match package for the forthcoming fixture and I thought I’d include the details here should anyone not have seen them on the SC website (I have had Quent’s permission!)….
…you don’t even have to be a member of either the club or the Supporters’ Club to benefit.
Cambridge Rugby Club have arranged to have their VP lounge open for the exclusive use of all Coventry Rugby supporters, whether members of the Supporters’ Club or not. The VP lounge has its own bar and is situated next to the main bar.
A large variety of typical food is available, including chips, burgers, pasties, sausage rolls, bacon, paninis, etc, etc. All are priced individually but very competitively. There is also a hog roast outside the clubhouse which costs £4.00.
As a special offer to supporters of Coventry Rugby, they are prepared to make lasagne which will be accompanied by bread and a salad and will be served on a plate with cutlery provided (there are tables and seats in the VP lounge). This will cost £5.00 per head and will need to be prepared in advance based upon prior notice for a minimum of 20 servings. We have agreed to notify them accordingly.
If you would like to take advantage of this special offer please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can send advance notice to Cambridge in the week leading up to the game.
Cambridge have been exceedingly accommodating and generous in their approach to welcoming supporters of Coventry Rugby to Volac Park. This offer is most welcome and it would be appreciated if supporters take advantage.
I hope supporters who are travelling up (down or across?) to Cambridge will think seriously about taking advantage of this. You don’t have to have come down on the coach, although you would need to let Quent know so he can confirm numbers to Cambridge in the week leading up to the game (or just leave confirmation via a comment on this post and I’ll forward it to him).
It’s a lovely ground and Cambridge play the type of rugby that always makes for interesting games, preferring to run with the ball rather than defend in numbers.
Have a think…bring the family or friends along…why heck, we might even get a second coach up and running!
Finally, just a brief footnote about another of our ex-players…
…none other than former scrum half, Rhodri Adamson.
Rhodri was understudy to Pete White and Sam Grasso last season and for the opening few games played regularly at no 9 as Pete recovered from a hip operation and Sam became injured.
He was certainly one of the youngest, if not the youngest, in the squad when it first came together and before the Academy players arrived and he showed real potential, but opportunities became few and far between as the season went on and he rightly decided he needed to move on.
And move on he has – to Richmond where he made his Championship debut on Saturday.
And a winning one as well, with Richmond beating Yorkshire Carnegie no less, 31-20. He came on after 38 minutes and must have had a good game, earning himself a ‘7’ in The Rugby Paper’s player index.
It’s always good to see ex-players doing well for themselves, especially when they’re as unassuming as Rhodri.
Great stuff, Rhodri…
Now we’re talking – The Jam
1978 – I was 19 and beginning to really enjoy my three-year music sabbatical at University. I first saw them in Birmingham, oddly enough, which was unusual at the time as I was living up north…
‘News of the World’ was very different from most of The Jam’s singles as it had Bruce Foxton on lead vocals and it was one of the few songs, I think, penned by him.
I was definitely a Weller fan, but this was a great single…although in terms of The Jam’s overall success, it was a relative flop.
So much raw energy…oh to be that young again!