Monday Monday…Oh Monday mornin’ you gave me no warnin’ of what was to be

15Jan - by Tim - 14 - In Club talk

Monday, Monday
So good to me
Monday mornin’, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin’, Monday mornin’ couldn’t guarantee…

Every other day (every other day), every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
A-you can find me cryin’ all of the time

The Mamas and the Papas – Monday Monday

 

You don’t become a bad team overnight

A phrase oft-repeated, but nevertheless eminently appropriate here and used by Rowland Winter when he  speaking to supporters on the coach after the game on Saturday. It was also quoted by John Wilkinson on the Messageboard yesterday ….:

Cov is a club worthy to be top of the league…it was before Saturday’s game and still is after it. Nothing has changed other than we’ve suffered our first loss.  We are still a good team and a very one at that.

Saturday’s squad under-performed just as Blackheath’s probably over-achieved in terms of the performances so far this season, even compared to those in the early rounds in September and October by all accounts, when they beat the likes of Plymouth, Darlington and Ampthill at home. And on that performance they might yet do us a favour or two when they travel to those self-same teams in future weeks.

Cov’s defeat wasn’t for a lack of effort. There was no capitulation, no head’s dropping. They tried to turn things round, but more often than not our accuracy let us down and when it did Blackheath were clinical on the counter. Several of their tries came from running the ball from their own half after we’d lost possession, with players in support against a defence that was stretched and struggling to make its first tackles.

Someone made the valid point that in the yesterday’s post I’d failed to pick up on the positives and that I’d made no mention of the players who’d played well and that perhaps ‘I owed it to them to share the details of their performance’. It was a fair comment to make, in that I hadn’t really made much mention of the pluses to come out of the games as there were so few, although I do think it perhaps misses the point as to the nature of a blog vs a match day report.

Do I owe it to players to share their performance?  I’ve given that some real consideration and I’m not so sure that is the case – this is a blog, an account of one person’s thoughts and feelings regarding all things Cov. Match day posts inevitably deal with the game itself, but they don’t offer a report on the games as such – John Butler and John Wilkinson provide a far better account than I ever could. Mine is just expression of the thoughts and feelings of passionate supporter.

They’re subjective and sometimes opinionated, and are not comparable to the report/analysis offered elsewhere. I haven’t got that understanding of the game for starters. Apologies to those who expect more.

I accept that yesterdays’ post won’t have made comfortable reading, but it was an uncomfortable day. The post was just a reaction to the game with comments here and there where applicable. I’m not sure as such it’s a case of me  owing players anything other than an honest account of what I saw and my reactions to it. I never single players out for criticism but often do for praise, but that depends very much on the context.

And in all honestly, you’d be hard pressed to single anyone out as having had a really good game against Blackheath, someone who made a real impact. A number of supporters said after the game they couldn’t have nominated a Man of the Match for that very reason.

The fact I chose to concentrate on some of the weaknesses in Cov’s performance then it was exactly that, a choice. If it came across as unduly negative, well so be it – those who read the blog with any regularity will know I’m anything but that most of the time, which perhaps reinforces just how disappointing Saturday really was.

I just think that needed explaining in case others were of the same opinion. I’m not going to apologise, but I can see where the comment came from.

Anyway…the positives?

Well, we scored five tries, picked up a bonus point and Matoto scored a hatrick, all of which I mentioned but other than those and the fact that at 39-0 down we scored two quick tries and it looked as if we might have had a glimmer of hope going into the break at 39-12 (which I tweeted at the half time interval) there was little else to take from the game.

Even now, in hindsight, I couldn’t single any one player out. The bench came on early and arguably made a difference given that the second half, score-wise at least, was a little closer, but it was a game in which the whole team has to take responsibility for the performance, from 1-20.

The Messageboard has been busy with plenty of really good discussion too and even there, no players were mentioned by name. It’s a question of the whole team performance being more important than the sum of its parts in this case.

Post-game though, there probably has been plenty to take heart from. The reaction of some of the players via Twitter clearly demonstrated the hurt that they were feeling and the recognition that it wasn’t just them but the supporters, too. I thought Rhys’ comment on here was telling:

I can assure anyone who might doubt Rowland’s word that the players were ashamed and embarrassed that the dressing room was the quietist place at Well Hall after the game. Players with their heads in their hands – it was awful. The bus home was no more noisy.

Whilst the defeat was the last thing I wanted to see, the reaction to it is definitely what I’d hoped for. There are so many seasoned players in the team, many of them leaders too, that I’m not worried about next week unduly. They will have experienced days like Saturday before and will know what is required, just as the coaches will know what they need to do to prepare the squad mentally as well as physically.

The other refreshing thing is that supporters have been incredibly positive about the whole situation and that’s just as it should be, too. Everyone has belief in the coaches and players and disappointing as the result was, it was just one game, one loss after 24 wins. The expectation is that we’ll bounce back and that Cov will be more than ready to face Esher on Saturday.

I’ve never got too wound up about defeats and I have yet to watch a Cov side that hasn’t given of its best in terms of effort, although I have watched plenty where their best isn’t good enough. And the same goes for individual players, too. Players have off days…

…I had a few of those when I was teaching.

More than a few if I’m honest.

And this might be heresy, but perhaps it’s a good think the run is over. It was beginning to dominate every article that related to Coventry Rugby Club, so much so that it actually seemed to become of greater significance than the games themselves. We all mentioned it because we were, and still are, justly proud of the fact that we went 24 games without defeat.

But did it begin to create a little over-confidence in the minds of the players themselves?

I’m sure that is the case with the supporters. It’s hard not to feel that way when you’re team is scoring tries by the shed load and topping the league with points in hand. Especially if that isn’t something that you’re used to.

But the players?

Yes? No? Subconsciously maybe…?

Before anyone berates me for being disloyal to the players, I only ask the question because it’s something Rowland Winter hinted at in his post-match comments to John Wilkinson after the game on Saturday:

There must have been some complacency because we weren’t at the races for that first 25 minutes or so

If there was some complacency, and it’s not something that has ever been talked about amongst supporters as far as I’m aware, it will certainly have been expunged following the humiliation of Saturday’s defeat. With the run now ever, it’s a chance to build again and the coaches have always said that the real test will be how the squad reacts to that first loss.

Well, we’ll soon find out. And such is RW’s meticulous planning, I imagine he’s had something prepared for a while now for that week leading up to the first game after the first defeat. Maybe he wasn’t quite expecting the manner of the defeat, but even so it will have been carefully thought through.

There will be a few players unsure as to what to expect at training today I imagine, having not been on a the losing side under Rowland Winter before…

Oh Monday mornin’ you gave me no warnin’ of what was to be

Routines will change this week I reckon, things will be done slightly differently or at least with a different emphasis and it wouldn’t surprise me if the coaches are looking forward to the challenge and to test themselves as much as test the players.

Esher will surely fancy their chances of causing another upset, even playing Cov in their backyard and despite the determination Cov will have to put things right on the pitch on Saturday, I think it will turn out to be a harder game than it might otherwise have been. Esher might not have the best of records this season, having lost 12 games so far, but they’ll be up for the challenge and the opening quarter could be particularly interesting,

And besides, it’s always good to see Devlin Hope back at the BPA…

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

In the last post I alluded to the view that Blackheath was fast becoming my least favourite club to visit but avoided developing the comment for fear that, straight after such a hammering as the one we received on Saturday, it might be thought of as sour grapes…

Most of the reasons centre around the fact that in recent seasons I’ve only seen us win away against Blackheath just the once and on the last three occasions we’ve not played particularly well and lost heavily. It’s a long way to go to be beaten quite so easily and whilst the journey there and back was remarkably smooth on Saturday, that hasn’t always been the case, especially around the Blackwall Tunnel. It can make for a very slow journey at times.

So I’m somewhat biased already.

And then there’s the supporters insistence on calling themselves ‘Club’ – presumably as they are they are the oldest ‘open’ rugby club in the world, although the third oldest otherwise. However, when it’s shouted out as a form of encouragement to the team, as in ‘Come on Club’, it just comes across as a little patronising to the opposition supporters – or at least to this one anyway.

Although Blackheath offered supporters a £10 entry into the ground (which was much appreciated and thanks to the SC for negotiating the deal)), we had no access to the main clubhouse before the game (members and corporate only, I believe) so we made do with a large ‘marquee’ of sorts, spacious yes,  but somewhat lacking in character. The service was slick though, to be fair.

And we sat in front of a couple of Blackheath supporters (I just can’t bring myself to use the ‘C’ word) who sadly make some pretty disparaging remarks about Cov including hee-haws (if that’s the sound a donkey makes) when Cov dropped the ball.

So that didn’t help my mood…

And then there were the toilets!

We couldn’t use the clubhouse and there were no toilets in the marquee itself, but there were some very basic facilities opposite. There were two portaloos in the shape of plastic police boxes…these had a plastic hand brake to one side of the bowl with a pumping action to flush with. Not a pleasant experience, especially after they’d been used several times.

But best of all were the  urinals – partly sheltered from, but also partly exposed to, everyone who walked past and comparable, as Ed Gray so eloquently put it, to:

something that looks like a feeding unit for the livestock…out of the dark ages 

Fine for the exhibitionists, but otherwise not the best of experiences. I was tempted to take my camera in for some supporting evidence, but the scenario of an old man taking photos of urinals might have taken some explaining…

Even the urinal at the back of the cowshed at Coundon Road had rather more appeal to it…

I’m sure other folk had a different experience but for me, I’d sooner go to Billesley Common.

Apparently the crowd was over just 1000. It didn’t seem as many as that but I’m glad they had a decent number there  – Blackheath played some really attractive rugby  that deserved a good attendance. Hopefully Saturday’s performance will kick them on to a strong second half of the season – and that’s just as much in our interests as it is theirs.

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

Monday and back to training…

The first training session post-Saturday and the one that will set the tone for the rest of the week…

Hopefully:

Monday, Monday
So good to me
Monday mornin’, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin’, Monday mornin’ couldn’t guarantee…

Mama Cass Elliot…what a voice…

Although not here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Monday Monday…Oh Monday mornin’ you gave me no warnin’ of what was to be”

  1. Tim, it’s your blog to write as you see fit. Keep up the good work!

    What is it about Blackheath Supporters shouting ‘come on Club’ that’s so annoying? It shouldn’t be but something about it rankles with me as well.

    I got into a contretemps a couple of seasons ago at BPA with a Blackheath supporter who was indignant when I said ‘Thank God’ – a little too loudly – when he decided to move away from where I was standing. I pointed out that it was within his right to loudly support his team but braying at Cov’s mistakes was out of order. I wonder if he was one of your culprits on Saturday… Other than that I’ve found most of their supporters to be ok.

    1. Thanks, Rob…and I’m glad it’s not just me, although others had a different experience! Back to Cov at the weekend and hopefully normal service will be resumed…

  2. Some of our supporters need to get a grip. Did anyone expect to go through the season unbeaten? Blackheath (never had a problem with calling them “Club”) away was always going to be a tough one, as will DMP, Plymouth and BS away. But we are a minimum of NINE points clear! A truly exceptional achievement from an exceptional team at this point in the season.

    I dread to think how some people are going to react if we go up as life in the Championship will be all about survival.

    1. Hi KD, thanks for coming over and leaving a comment. I actually don’t think there are many who really believed we remain unbeaten, it’s more the manner of the defeat that’s caused the reaction. This has been an exceptional season so far and we have the luxury still of having a couple of games in hand. The point about next season is a valid one and there’s sure to be some backlash when things don’t go quite so well, even if it’s only attendances dropping after the initial increase. That’s for the future though….meanwhile about focusing on the remaining games. Looking forward to seeing Cov’s reaction to the Blackheath game on Saturday

  3. The bit we (supporters) have been lulled into forgetting that this group of players are only playing together for their first season. Naz, Sammy, Latu, Preecey, Anthony M, Nile, George, Fenner, Phil N, young Tom. That’s more than half a side, so who of them knew how they would react to a side right up in their faces that quickly and that early in the game? This is not the season that Rowland targetted as the one for promotion – he’s said we’ll take it if it comes, but we’re 12 months ahead of that schedule. We’ve lost sight of that target in the euphoria of being 23 games unbeaten.

    Blackheath played bloody well. We didn’t. We lost. What we want to see now is the maturity and experience of the players showing itself in how they address that, pick themselves back up and get back to winning ways on Saturday.

    1. Yes…two very important points that have been lost in all the excitement over the unbeaten run. The players have come together extremely well and Saturday hopefully was no more than a reminder that there’s still a long way to go. With the experience you’ve highlighted in the squad, I’m sure we’ll be fine, although there could well be one or two more blips on the way. I might be wrong but I thought that Jon Sharp and RW had decided to push for promotion this year because of fears of a ring-fencing of the Championship – didn’t he mention that in the radio broadcast with Alec Blackman. Might have got that wrong though…?
      Thanks for your comments, Rhys, they always add greatly to the general discussion.

  4. HI Tim. Couldn’t believe the tweets coming in on Saturday, so thanks for keeping us up to date, just kept wishing it was a first half blip. Going with the glass half full approach, maybe this is the kick up the backside to ensure we keep focussed, and realise that the fat lady hasn’t even turned up yet, let alone began to warm up her tonsils. Hopefully it will just turn out to be a bad day at the office, I’m sure the players will be hurting even more than we are, and will be desperate to put it right. We are still top by quite a few points, and although others have games(s) in hand, we have points in the bag. Also serves as a reminder that if/(when) we do go up, how hard the next level is going to be, and how much we will need to improve to stay there. Let’s hope Esher feel the backlash this weekend.

    1. I’m of exactly the same opinion – Saturday was a reality check, albeit a tough one given the manner of the defeat. The Esher game has probably become a little tougher than it might otherwise have done as they’ll come out fired up in the belief they an perhaps replicate what Blackheath did and knock us off our stride early on. Should be an interesting afternoon.

  5. Tim, your comments are entirely justifiable. I would suggest that the comments from supporters are based not so much on the hard fact that we were defeated (they all admit to the feeling that we were always going to be beaten at some point) but at the manner of the defeat. To ship 61 points in one game is very different to nearly being beaten at OA’s by only a couple of points or so earlier in the season.

    1. Absolutely…that definitely was a shock even if the defeat wasn’t entirely, It was always going to happen at some point…every other team in the league would be happy to swap places with us right now!

  6. Well the two best teams in their leagues lost their unbeaten records yesterday. And who thinks Man City are not going to win the league? Guardiola said it is almost impossible to go a season undefeated these days, and this applies equally to the Premiership and National One. Neither coach should change anything about the way their teams play because it has been successful for over half a season. Onwards to the next game……

    1. Yes, interesting to know how the coaches approach this week. You’re right, if it ain’t broke…etc etc – except there were couple of cracks exposed by Blackheath on Saturday. As has been said elsewhere, it might be the wake-up call the squad needed – in previous games we had had indifferent periods of play in most games – the second half a Moseley for example. I have to say, I am excited about the Esher game already. Glad there isn’t a blank weekend now – that might not have done us any favours really

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