Bells will ring,
The sun will shine.
Whoa, I’ll be his and he’ll be mine.
We’ll love until the end of time
And we’ll never be lonely anymore.
Going to the chapel and we’re gonna to get married.
Going to the chapel and we’re gonna to get married.
Gee, I really love you and we’re gonna to get married.
Going to the chapel of love.
The Dixie Cups – Going To the Chapel
For a fair few seasons prior to Rowland Winter’s arrival in 2016, it seemed as if Coventry was destined to remain in National One for a good deal longer than was actually the case.
Although eight years was quite long enough.
It was beginning to look like a case of always the bridesmaid and never the bride.
Cov’s love/hate relationship with the Championship came to a rather drawn out and all too predictable end in 2010 and whilst we flirted with promotion a couple of times under Phil Maynard in 2014 and 2015, most of the time there seemed little chance of any romantic ending coming Cov’s way.
The 2015/2016 season was a real low point, with first Maynard’s sideways move and Scott Morgan’s slightly heroic failure as Head Coach after Christmas.
As all this unfolded so painfully before us, RW busied himself researching our personal details, rather fancied what he saw and gave Jon Sharp a ring…
It was love at first sight.
A match.com made in heaven.
The Board listened to its head rather than its heart and out of the blue appointed a young and ambitious Director Rugby in what looked at the time to be something of a bold gamble…or, in retrospect, a brilliant example of the club’s forward-thinking approach..
So here we are, just two years on, about to watch the first of three sets of banns to be played out before us prior to Cov consummating its union with the Championship against Jersey on September 1st at 3.00 pm in the good parish of Spon End.
Those requesting tickets for the event should have received them by now and whilst there will doubtless be some seats still available on the day, pews will be in limited supply.
The banns. Three pre-season friendlies on successive Saturdays against Moseley, Leinster and Wasps. Three occasions where if there are major concerns about Cov’s forthcoming nuptials, then they’ll be exposed for all to see…
…what’s the betting Moseley have every intention of gate-crashing the party tomorrow with their own version of ‘It Should Have Been Me…’ blaring over the PA as they jog onto the pitch prior to the start of the game?
But no worries on that front, at least not from me. Cov has been saving itself for the big occasions.
No shotgun wedding this one.
Best Man, Rowland Winter, has been preparing for the big day for weeks now and everyone involved knows their role. Walshe and Deacon have been ushering the players to their appropriate places, especially in the set pieces, and we can probably expect some decent moves when it comes to the first of the dress rehearsals tomorrow.
Those present at the engagement party back in April will doubtless remember the day with great fondness and I still have a few pictures around the house of the moment it was all made official. The one of Phil Boulton celebrating with a bottle of champagne still gets plenty of admiring comments friends and relatives.
And Cov still have three more weeks to get it right in time for the big day.
The speeches have been written, the reception booked (4.50 pm in the clubhouse, all welcome to attend) and all the players are in receipt of their new shiny (track)suits.
And if the club is the bride, well the father of the bride has to be Jon Sharp and he’ll surely be looking on with great pride, full of hope for the future.
Cov has, of course, been married to the Championship before, although each occasion led to a painful divorce and the need for lawyers to sort out a financial settlement that left all involved pretty short of funds for a good time after the separation.
But the club is older and wiser now and on the back of a long and loving engagement these past two years, there’s every chance that this is a relationship that will stand the test of time.
And behind the scenes, the club has been doing it’s bit to ensure the venue looks its best for the ceremony, with the grass lovingly manicured despite the insufferable conditions so that official photographer Jon Coles will have the best of possible backdrops should they be needed.
Improvements to the food and bar facilities should mean that everyone is kept fed and watered without the usual complaints that beset mass catering events.
For a change, Cov can have its cake and eat it..
There’s been plenty of notice given regarding the forthcoming celebrations with social media awash with reminders, so the expectation is that the congregation will be a sizeable one for the first reading of the banns tomorrow.
Given it’s taking place in the bride’s parish, the Cov family should be well represented, although rumour has it that relatives of the groom are less happy about the costs involved, so it might well that they’re not present in quite such numbers.
However many of us are present, hopefully we’ll all be in good voice for the what is, after all, a very special time in our sporting lives. Whilst the singing of hymns is of course optional, I’m rather hopeful that The Right Reverend Mark Harrison will lead the Coventry choir in the following hymns I’ve selected, all of which seem particularly appropriate given the occasion…
Hymn No. 1874 – Winter, Hear The Prayer We Offer
Hymn No 011 – Amazing Pace (in homage to the backs)
Hymn No 2018/19 – Lead Us Heavenly Stevens Lead Us (or Boulton as appropriate)
And my own personal favourite:
Hymn No 666 – COV-EN- TREEE
Tomorrow should be a joyous day, albeit a practice run for bigger and better things to follow.
By all accounts, the entertainment should be pretty good too, with a 15 piece band doing two 40 minutes sets with up to 17 others also making an appearance, including some well-known and some less well-known faces.
If the weather does as it threatened to do all day yesterday, then it could be a bit miserable.
Although Storm Debby might be a-raging, with plenty of shelter available there’s absolutely no need to worry on that front…
Thank you and goodnight.
If you haven’t already had a go at guessing the attendance for today’s game, please do (see below).
I’ll include the results in the next post…
It wasn’t my intention to tweet updates from the games this season…
However, a few supporters have already asked if I would be willing to carry on ‘tweeting’ from games and I’ll be sending regular messages to my 93 years old mum who is a far more loyal Cov supporter than I am anyway. It’s no biggy.
What I did notice over the summer is that even when I was watching the Bears, I found it almost impossible not to text the score. and the closer the game, the greater the volume of tweets. It’s my way of deflecting some of the tension, I reckon.
If you can’t make the game and want something a little different to the updates from Coventry’s own Twitter feed, then I’m on @CowshedTim.
…be warned though, there’ll come fast and furious I imagine, so it might be worth muting me for the duration of the game if you’re not interested (remember to unmute me afterwards though!!!)
If you haven’t come across the tweets before, apologies in advance for the many, many typos – I use predictive text, but the only problem is the phone doesn’t seem to predict what I’m intending to write…
It does make rather embarrassing tweets over the course of a season.
Whatever you’re doing this afternoon, have a great one.
Up the Cov…
The Dixie Cups – Chapel Of Love
Probably sacrilege to say so, but I actually prefer The Beach Boys version…