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‘Cause it’s always been a matter of trust…

This time you’ve got nothing to lose
You can take it, you can leave it, whatever you choose
I won’t hold back anything
And I’ll walk away a fool or a king
Some love is just a lie of the mind
It’s make believe until its only a matter of time
And some might have learned to adjust…

…cause it’s always been a matter of trust
It’s a matter of trust

Bill Joel – A Matter Of Trust

Today’s match day selection is very much a matter of trust.

The squad is the same as that which beat Esher so comprehensively last weekend which is good news on two accounts.

Firstly, it confirms that we suffered no more injuries which is significant as we are fast approaching the next crucial set of fixtures and having had to rule out Povoas, Tuitupou and Emery from consideration for the Esher game, the last thing we would have wanted would have been to pick up a couple more knocks last weekend.

Maybe  one of the few bonuses to come out of the muddy conditions against Esher was that everyone came through the game unscathed.

Fortunately, Tom Emery is back this weekend, playing at 15 for the Development Squad, but it will be a few weeks before we see the return of the others. Perhaps only Jimmy Litchfield’s absence can be put down to a loss of confidence or form.

And secondly, Rowland Winter is in the happy position of being able to reward what was a commanding team performance last weekend  by retaining the entire match day squad for today’s game against Bishop Stortford.

As he said in John Wilkinson’s preview on the club website:

The boys battled really hard last week and showed the attitude and application we want to see from a Coventry side. Because they’ve done that they’re rewarded by keeping their spot…

However, most of the side taking to the field at 2.00 pm today were also involved in the starting XV down at Blackheath two weeks ago and we all know how than one ended.

The fact that RW has demonstrated such faith in these players, players who showed little of the form that has kept the club at the top of the National One table for so many weeks now, illustrates the degree of the trust he has in them. I’m sure there are coaches who would have made more changes other than those that were enforced, but since his arrival at Cov, RW has been able to get the best out of his players without the need to resort to sweeping changes if things haven’t gone as planned, even in the early weeks of last season.

Such loyalty to his players reaped its rewards last week and, hopefully, will do so again today. Loyalty works both ways and it’s something to be celebrated provided it’s not of the blind variety.

Nowhere have I seen any call from supporters for changes to the team or a questioning of the coaches selection over the last couple of weeks, so just as the coaches have absolute faith in the players, so the supporters have absolute faith in the coaches.

It was only couple of years back that things were very different.

Of course, the proof of the pudding  is in how the players respond out there on the pitch today. Doubtless training will have been as intense and as thorough as it was last week and there will be no thoughts of complacency, but the coaches won’t know how effective the preparation has been until the players take to the pitch.

Will the team repay that faith, and at the end of the game will RW, to quote Billy Joel:

walk away a fool or a king?

The game last Saturday suggests that the Blackheath result wasn’t about a loss of form, temporary or otherwise. The performance against Esher was up there with some of the best we’ve seen all season. No, whatever the reason for such a disappointing performance, it would seem as if it was a one-off . Perhaps it  was to do with the players’ state of mind more than anything else. To quote RW again:

 We have to be at our best to go there and beat them, and that’s mentally as well as physically

The mental preparation this week will surely have been a focus; get the mind-set right and Cov should prove too strong over 80 minutes. But nothing is guaranteed.

This game is a probably more of a marker of how well the squad is able to recover from an upheaval than last week’s, being the first away fixture after Blackheath. There will be plenty of added pressure on the players…they have to show a bit more mental toughness out there today.

Player for player, most pundits would accept that Cov has the stronger side, but when Bishop’s Stortford visited us earlier in the season, they showed what self-belief and commitment to the cause can do in the face of such adversity. And having come so close in the previous encounter, we can expect them to play with that same spirit, and at home without the crowd there to support Cov, it might prove an even tougher test for the visitors.

Once again, Cov are going to have to make full use of the experience that is spread throughout the team and if we do go behind, hopefully we won’t try and chase the game in quite the same way as we did against Blackheath. In the backs, the presence this time in the starting XV of Knox, Grove and Maisey is a bonus and whilst Knox and Maisey will probably add more to our options in attack, I think in defence Grove is as good as we’ve got, even if he’s not quite as mercurial on the pitch as some.

This is going to be a tough game, but the nearer we get to closing the season out, the harder each game will become – mentally anyway. It’s another test, another hoop through which the squad must jump if it is to prove it has the predigree to move on to the next level. Many of us have dreamed the dream until recently; now it’s a case of living the reality:

It’s make believe until its only a matter of time
And some might have learned to adjust…
…cause it’s always been a matter of trust
It’s a matter of trust

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

I have to say when I saw the squad named for the Development Xv game, also against Bishop’s Stortford, I did something of a double take.

It must surely be the strongest we’ve put out this season:

COVENTRY DEVELOPMENT: 15 Tom Emery, 14 Kwaku Asiedu, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 James Neal, 10 Max Titchener, 9 Connor Adams, 1 Andy Brown, 2 Will Priestley, 3 Jimmy Litchfield, 4 Kailus Hutchinson, 5 Mike Ryan, 6 Tom Price, 7 Paddy Ryan, 8 Sam McNulty.

Replacements: 16 Kai Owen, 17 Matt Price, 18 Phil Ackuaku, 19 Myles Hibbs, 20 Sam Payne, 21 Joe Lane, 22 Louis Roach, 23 Brendan Burke.

For a start, there’s Andy Brown and Jimmy Litchfield together again, a combination that caused so much damage to opposition front rows last season.

And Brown makes a welcome return today…

Then there’s the pairing of Fatiaki and Dingwall in the centres, with Emery also there at full back. How destructive could they be, potentially anyway?

Okay, Cameron Gray is with Wasps, so the second row is a little inexperienced but even so, the squad shows the depth in quality Cov currently are enjoying, especially if you add into the mix those players who are out injured. 

I’m particularly pleased to see Andy Brown back – he’s had a tough few months, but hopefully the worst is now behind him and he can get back to full fitness in time to play a role in the run-in to the end of the season where he might well be needed.

Hopefully, the Supporters’ coach will arrive early enough to enable us to see some of the Development game – a first glimpse of Faitiki, Max Titchener playing at 10 (someone who always looks to have just a little more time on the ball than most), Connor Adams who has always played well whenever I’ve seen him and a back row that includes Paddy Ryan, the loanee from Saints making his Cov debut. And with the likes of Akuaku (Big Phil), Lane and Roach all on the bench, there’s plenty in reserve.

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

Hopefully, weather and fingers permitting, I’ll tweet updates of the National One game from Silver Leys, with kick off at the earlier time of 2.00 pm.

Having never visited Bishop Stortford’s ground before, I’m hoping the signal will be fine but with no shelter, if it’s pouring down updates might rather limited. Sam’s with me, so if I take a brolly and he’s happy to hold it, then I am  a man with a plan. And it’s probably a good job that I am, too, as the weather forecast tomorrow shows a 90% chance of some rain from 1.30 pm onwards.

Both Bishop’s Stortford and Coventry provide updates via Twitter. Bishop’s Stortford Twitter feed is @BSRFC, but coverage of the game is limited to score updates only.

Coventry’s Twitter feed is @CoventryRugby and is more detailed but again focusing on mostly on score updates.

Mine however, is just manic.

Fingers and thumbs working together flat out to provide more of a commentary which tends to be somewhat personalised and emotive at times. My feed is @CowshedTim

So, if you’re looking for no more than score updates and the odd comment, then certainly both  clubs will provide you with what you’re looking for.

However, if you’re at home and just surfing the net trying to find out anything you can about the game, mine might be a different option.

The tweets, when combined, make a crude ‘commentary’ of sorts, but be warned though, you might get well over a 130 plus tweets during the course of the game, weather permitting – so if that is too much, mute me and use the two club’s official feeds.

Whilst I don’t for a minute imagine either club would recommend mine, having all three running will give you a pretty good account of what is happening – far better than you’ll get from anywhere else other than perhaps a radio commentary, if there is one.

Please bear in mind, I am a bit one-eyed when I tweet, covering more than just the scores as they occur and I do try and get across the mood of the game as well as any scores as they happen.

Please do let me know if you are following my tweets, if there aren’t many than I’ll reduce the number, although it’s something that I do enjoy doing!

Apologies in advance for some of the typos that appear. For some though, deciphering my tweets adds to the occasion.

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. Click on them to increase their size.
Up the Cov!

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

Billy Joel…always ‘A Matter of Trust’ sounded a bit Springsteenish to me…

…which I guess is very much a compliment.

To Billy Joel, anyway.

Another one of those artists  who I never admitted I liked at the height of his popularity, but secretly sand along to on my own.

Too much of an uptown sort of guy for me.

 

 

4 replies »

  1. Waiting in anticipation in the sun for your updates Tim, wishing you, the team and all the fellow supporters who have made the trip a successful and productive day.

    • On the coach now, Peter. Everyone sends their regards…wet and miserable here. How is it where you are 😂😂😂

    • Yes…does tend to happen a little too often these days. Fat thumbs 😂😂😂 but thank you for the kind words

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