From around the ground…Coles from Coventry

14Aug - by Tim - 3 - In Club talk

But mama said you can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You gotta trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

The Supremes – You Can’t Hurry Love

One of the biggest pluses for me to come out of the game on Saturday was the complete absence of comment on the pitch.

Having being one of the main topics of conversation amongst Cov supporters pretty much throughout the close season, on Saturday it didn’t get a mention. There had been real concerns voiced that given the hot dry summer, it might be a race against time to get the pitch ready for Championship rugby in September.

It looked much greener at the weekend and was clearly all the better for the hosing it had been given the week before by the local fire brigade, together with a couple of decent downpours in the last few days.

Coventry players involved in water sports.

You read it here first.

The two photos above do show that despite having greened up considerably over the last few days, there are still a number of areas of the pitch where the grass is much thinner, or indeed absent. It’s actually far more evident the higher up you are in the stand.

It’s a massive improvement, though on how it was and there’s a few weeks left to address some of the problems that still remain.

The areas where the old running track used to be are now far less evident. And whereas the pitch had looked something akin to a dustbowl over the summer when the Bears were playing on it, on Saturday, although obviously still very dry, there were no sandy areas and it appeared to hold up well for the full 80 minutes.

The surface was obviously very firm underfoot and that might have contributed to a couple of injuries picked up during the game – certainly if you fell heavily, as did Tom Jubb and Pete White, then there was little in the pitch to absorb the impact.

The pigeons enjoying some rich pickings again, looking a good deal plumper than they did a couple of weeks ago…

More seed was put down earlier in the week and on more than one occasion on Saturday, Brian King was having to play the role of scarecrow-in-chief on top of all his other match day duties.

Just how well the pitch would stand up to any heavy rain for few days prior to the next couple of home games remains to be seen. However, if we are lucky enough to get a spell of warm, wet weather and the pigeons can be persuaded to move home to The Ricoh, there’s a strong chance the pitch will improve yet further before the Championship opener against Jersey Reds.

It’s obviously been a hard summer for those involved in the maintenance of the pitch and they all deserve our thanks.

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The scoreboard really is an impressive sight and in my view adds greatly to the overall matchday experience.

Lara Hunter moved heaven and earth to bring it to Cov and I chanced to bump into her moments after she’d been given the go ahead by the Board to confirm the deal with Elonex – to say she was elated was an understatement.

The scoreboard as seen from the main stand…

 

 

 

 

Having worked so hard to bring it here, I do wonder if we yet have to see it used to its full potential, though?

For instance, could some of Tom Branston’s mid-week interviews with players and coaches be played on it with the sound relayed through the PA system? Is it possible to have the previous game’s highlights shown on it whilst the players are warming up, or an image of each scorer appear immediately after a score…? And so on….

I rather expect that part of the deal to get it here in the first place is that as well as a scoreboard it has to be used as a giant advertising hoarding (which is fair enough if it gets us the scoreboard), as is the case in the photo above, but maybe the screen can be split in two during the game to provide some rugby-related material?

It certainly displays the score well enough which is a big plus considering its predecessor’s track record.

One bugbear though…there’s no clock.

The two things that you can usually expect from a scoreboard are the score and the time…

…so the good news is that we’re half way there.

In this era of widgets and dongles and downloads, surely there must be a way of adding a clock of sorts, even if only a simple minute countdown. I guess that’s one for the teccies, but there must be away around it I would have thought.

Or maybe not.

Would be good to have one though.

It’s probably at times like these as supporters we should back a little and just be thankful for all the positive changes that have taken place in the last couple of years.

We can’t have it all straight away:

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You gotta trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

Sam, who is on fire at the moment in terms of coming up with memorable quotes, compared the lack of a clock on the scoreboard, which is after all a very impressive piece of kit, to bringing David Halaifonua to the BPA and then proceeding to play him in the second row…

Harsh. But I  get where he’s coming from.

Although to be fair, Sam, even in the second row…

Another great addition – pitchside electronic advertising

 

I do like the touchline advertising boards…in the bright light of a summer’s day they probably won’t be quite as effective as they will under the floodlights, but they certainly look the part.

I’m not sure, though, if the intention is to extend them along the full length of the pitch and perhaps even behind the dead ball lines at either end.

Their presence helps create a really professional feel to the ground.

And presumably brings in the bucks, too.

Cov Management /coaching staff in situ for the game (photo courtesy of John Coles)

 

 

 

 

 

It was interesting to see the Coventry coaches, together with Rowland Winter, taking their seats at the back of the main stand for the first of the pre-season friendlies.

No longer allowed pitch side this season, this will be their new ‘technical’ area.

Pardon the pun, but it’s probably not something that will sit easy with Rowland Winter in particular. Over the last couple of seasons we’ve got used to him pacing the touchline, often chuntering away and spreading his arms in supplication should Cov incur the wrath of the referee. You get the impression he’s not great at sitting still at the best of times, so I rather imagine his seat up in the gods will be close to purgatory for him.

Just how he’ll cope with having to be strapped down and gagged is perhaps a question for a forthcoming episode of CRTV…

By his own admission, I think he is prone to some colourful language at times, so those in the row in front and to his right might well be getting some added entertainment over the course of the coming season.

Premium seats those now…

…and given its constant need to increase revenue, I’m rather surprised the club hasn’t yet banded those seats in proximity to RW at a price above those for the rest of the main stand.

If you can make the car park a fiver, what price a ringside seat? 🙂

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I thought I just give a mention to Saturday’s referee whom I thought had a very good game.

I didn’t hear any criticism of him whatsoever during the game itself and I’ve read nothing untoward since. He seemed to let the game flow as much as possible; and he certainly wasn’t whistle-happy in the slightest.

I’ve no idea who the referee was but he appeared to handle the game with a degree of authority. Hopefully, with the step up to the Championship  this season, we’ll see slightly greater consistency in the quality of refereeing, than in National One.

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John Coles has once again been kind enough to forward me the set of photos he took at the game on Saturday. I’m so pleased he’s going to be involved at Coventry again this year as his images often provide a sub-narrative to the afternoon’s entertainment that makes for some really interesting viewing.

Here are just a few of the photos he took:

I know that the players have said in the past that they get a massive lift from the applause they receive as they jog past the main stand on their way back to the changing room just before kick off.

I have to say, I think it works both ways as it sends out a real statement of togetherness and unity both within the squad itself and between the squad and supporters.

They were really tightly bunched on that jog back to the changing room on Saturday. It was a great sight to behold.

Always gives me a tingle when I hear the crowd react as they do.

Full house against Jersey…?

Should be something special.

The injury to Ryan Roach necessitated a lengthy break in play – at the time it looked even more serious than it actually was, although a broken ankle is bad enough. Some of the Cov players  in the photo are looking across, clearly a little concerned.

Good to see Hannah Walker so involved again…(though off camera!).

Pete White looked to have suffered a nasty injury too as he scored Cov’s second try – JC has captured the moment of impact as Pete hit the ground with some force. One for the grandchildren that one, Pete!

Fortunately, he seemed to recover quickly and looked fine in the celebrations after the game.

Fingers crossed.

Great as Tom Kessell is, I do think Pete White as much to offer Cov at this level and, for me, in PW the Covdog is alive and kicking and ready to be unleashed at any time. Great player to watch – 100% committed to the elephant badge.

David Halaifonua in full flight here; hopefully, we’re going to see a fair few images like this over the course of the season.

I think everyone there on Saturday was impressed with his ability to break the tackle and he showed a real turn of speed too. After smashing into Ryan Roach, one or two of the Moseley players didn’t seem quite so keen to commit themselves to the tackle when he was in possession.

We’ve had some exciting players come to Cov, some big names who haven’t always delivered – something tells me that’s not going to be the case with DH.

A really impressive debut.

Heath Stevens scores, Junior Bulumakau congratulates and in the background Chairman Jon Sharp appears to be rubbing his hands with glee.

Or just clapping, maybe.

But when you’ve invested so much time, energy and money into the club, days like Saturday must make it all worth while.

Both the Bulumakau brothers looked good, with Junior, above, causing Moseley some real problems early on out wide. Here he is opening the scoring.

I’d gone for Kessell in 9 minutes to score first in the competition run by match day sponsor Somoan Joes.

Might have had a decent chance had he been in the starting XV!

I chose this photo for two reasons.

First, it shows just how clear the numbering on the back of the Cov shirt is – no complaints this season.

Secondly, it shows Moseley’s SOAR arses after they’d had them kicked in the Butts by Cov.

Cheap shot…sorry, but it does lend itself to some lavatorial humour.

Not knocking the company though, they do a great job.

Every picture tells a story…

..and the one behind this photo is very much about future hopes.

Hutchinson and Russell at 4 and 5 – two young, talented players at the heart of Cov’s pack. They might not get much game time this season, but they represent all that the club is striving to achieve with the Development Squad/youth programmes.

A really important photo this one, for me.

Here were we are in a Championship season, right from the off giving youth the opportunity to prove itself amongst so many very experienced players, some of them internationals in their own right.

Exciting times.

James Stokes in full flight…few better sights for me.

He looks to have been working hard in the gym over the summer, appearing to have bulked up a little. He’s clearly up for the contest this season and doesn’t appear to have lost any of his speed or his eye for the line.

He’s deserved his opportunity in the Championship – I’m sure he’ll take it with both hands and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him scoring regularly at this level, too. Where and how often he’ll play is something best left to the coaches, but he remains for me one of the most exciting player to wear a Cov shirt in a good many years.

Might be one or two others in that group by the end of this season if Saturday was anything to go on.

One of those players who might prove just as exciting to watch as James Stokes is Jack Ram.

He looks to be another expert at the breakdown in the same way Jack Preece is and I’m sure he’ll be somewhere near the top of the ‘steals’ table come April.

Having two players of that calibre in the same side is a huge bonus for Cov and with Ram also happy at 8, I guess it gives the coaches plenty of options.

He looks confident with ball in hand and, like so many South Sea Islanders, he seems to make the ball available in the tackle time and time again.

Thanks To JC for forwarding the photos, always the most eagerly awaited email of the week!

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The Supremes…

Ed Sullivan…

1966

It’s a game of give and take…

I’ll try my best to remember that.

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “From around the ground…Coles from Coventry”

  1. Steady on Tim suggesting price increases for those sitting close to the “Coaches Row”. That’s my seat on the back row next to them! For some time now RW has sat up there overseeing the play communicating with the coaches at ground level before going down to join them 10 mins or so before half time/full time, (or when he can’t sit still anymore!). It now seems as though I shall be alongside all of them – Great! However, it does seem strange to see John Wilkinson in his new seat in front of them.

    1. Hi Peter! Hope all is well, great to hear from you.

      Lol…whoops! Still think it’s a potential money spinner though!!!

      At least JW should be able to enjoy the game a little more now – he certainly deserves his rest now.

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