Well, well, well…
Mary Poppins – A British Bank
Paddy Power’s strap line is ‘WE HEAR YOU!’.
And fair play to them, they’ve certainly been paying close attention to what’s been said in this blog…
…even to the extent of reacting promptly to a run on Cov winning the Championship in what is only their first season back in the second tier of English rugby after an eight year absence.
Anything connected with Coventry Rugby Club these days seems bullish, even in the world of gambling.
Those who read yesterday’s post will recall that at 500/1 to win the Championship, the odds on Coventry were just to good to ignore.
To good for me, anyway.
So I placed a £5 bet with Paddy Power which, if successful (and it is a mighty big ‘if’), will win me a cool £2505. I’ve genuinely no expectations other than to get a bit of mileage out of it for the blog and to dream big for a few weeks at most.
But were Cov to win, I’d kick myself for having squandered the opportunity.
And it rather looks as if a number of fellow supporters have followed suit.
By 10.30 am yesterday, just 3 hours after the blog was posted, Paddy Power had reduced their odds on an outright win to 200/1.
By 2.00 pm they’d dropped to just 66/1.
From 500/1 to 66/1 in just 7 hours.
A fairly drastic reduction by anyone’s reckoning.
and by early afternoon:
Well, if it is, it’s a might big one. With no other clubs odds changing, it would suggest that yesterday’s post did create some interest. I’m claiming it as such, anyway!
Maybe there are some Cov supporters who, like me, really don’t see Cov as promotion contenders at all but for the sake of a fiver are prepared to take the risk.
It probably wouldn’t take too many bets at 500/1 for Paddy Power to recalculate the odds, but the fact that it has dropped as much as it has, and in two stages, suggests a fair few bets have been placed.
Many more and all online betting on the RFU Championship will be suspended as the company is forced into investigating potential betting irregularities…
I don’t mind admitting that I’m quite chuffed in many ways that one post can make such a big impact on betting trends ( I really can’t see there being any other reason for such a shift) even in the short -term. It perhaps serves to illustrate the susceptibility of markets, big and small, to rumour and speculation.
I’ve never seen Coventry as relegation favourites which in effect was what Paddy Power originally had us down as, but following the recent interest in Cov, they are now up to 5th favourites for promotion – too high for me, but a far better reflection of where the club should finish in April.
What would be interesting to see is whether these odds are/will be matched by other gambling sites, or whether this is just an anomaly caused by local interest that won’t be reflected elsewhere.
If the likes of Ladbrokes or Betfred do open up with Cov at 500/1, it might be worth enquiring what odds they are offering for us to avoid relegation. Evens or 2/1 might still be worth a flutter as I just cant see us relegated under any scenario other than, heaven forbid, docked points.
I’d like to think that there are supporters out there in the ether somewhere who read yesterday’s post and, like me, decided to take the risk. If it comes off, I couldn’t be more happy for them…
…or for me, either :).
All the talk this week, and for a good few weeks beforehand, has been of Saturday’s clash with Wasps.
Hardly surprising, either, given the importance of the fixture both to the players and coaches in their build up to the Championship opener in just 10 days time and to the many supporters for whom Wasps remain the proverbial ‘cuckoo in the nest’, although I wouldn’t count myself amongst them.
Anyone who’s followed the blog from its beginnings will be aware that I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about the presence of Wasps within the city.
Coventry Rugby Club isn’t a big enough pull these days for Wasps to be any sort of threat. That will only come about if we get our own house in order, as we currently are, and put pressure on them as the Premiership side, rather than the other way around.
If anything, any strain on us caused by Wasps’ residence in the city is more self-inflicted, with some supporters still struggling to come to terms with Coventry’s decline as much as Wasps’ resurgence.
Saturday’s game is as much symbolic as it is significant. The first meeting of the two clubs since Wasps’ arrival in Cov back in 2014 was always going to create interest, but against an A side it’s hardly the same as playing their full squad.
It will be a tough, tough game. Win or lose, though, I’m not going to dwell on the result particularly. Cov will be taking it extremely seriously, but more because it’s the final game before the season starts proper than because it’s against Wasps. They know it means a great deal to the fans and for that reason they’ll want the win for them, but purely as a Cov v Wasps A encounter – well, I’m not convinced.
It’s performing well enough on the day to guarantee a place in the match day squad that must surely be the driving force…?
If I remember correctly, Wasps failed to get through the qualifying rounds of the Anglo-Welsh round-robin last season, even struggling to get a side together and having to rely on a number of teams, including Coventry, to supply them with players for several of the fixtures.
Yes, they’ll be a step up from Moseley and Leinster and a good test for a Coventry side that wasn’t at its best last week in Dublin, but the fact that it’s Wasps isn’t that significant for me.
I’m certainly looking forward to the game, and to the atmosphere it will generate, but I’m not attaching any great importance to it other than it being a final chance for the players to impress.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post – of the two games this weekend, the one I’m most looking forward to is the one against Cambridge on Friday evening.
And here’s why…
Even before Rowland Winter appointment two years ago, games against Cambridge were entertaining, but since his arrival at Cov, they’ve taken on an added significance.
It’s an extremely welcoming club, forward-thinking and very much grass roots and community-based. It’s a club that typifies what National One is all about and so to see Cambridge back at Cov so soon after leaving National One is rather comforting given all the unknowns that face us in the form of the Championship over the coming weeks and months.
And just as Wasps will be a decent test for the first team squad on Saturday, Cambridge will certainly be a test for a relatively young and inexperienced Nighthawks side. Most of the names will be familiar, but few of us will have seen them play – so this is a real bonus for the likes of me for whom the first team has always been a priority.
Whenever I’ve watched the Nighthawks in the past, there’s always been one or two players who have impressed and there’s clearly a number of the squad who have the potential to make it into the first team in the next 12-24 months..
Less than half of last year’s Development Squad were offered new contracts over the summer such were the standards expected of them this season. And along with those remaining players, several more have been added, players like Will Flinn, Freddie Betteridge and Scott Russell – all of whom have already featured in pre-season games alongside Cameron Gray, Louis Roach, Kailus Hutchinson and Scott Russell.
The coaches obvious have plenty of faith in them, despite their relative inexperience.
How the squad gets on against Cambridge, a team looking for at least a mid-table finish in National One next season, will be a decent marker for what we can expect from the Development Academy players over the coming season.
I was pleased to see that the official website lists the Development Academy players alongside those in the full squad, emphasising the importance the club attaches to this group of players. And, unlike last season when their photos didn’t appear all season, everyone in the Academy appears accounted for.
Good job, Cov.
As far as I can make out from the website, the Development Academy players this season appear to be:
Back Row/Second Row
I’m sure there are others either on their way or planned for the future, but it’s already a strong looking squad and Friday’s team will probably be supplemented by one or two from the full squad who won’t be playing on Saturday, together with maybe one or two guest players, as is often the case so early on in the season.
Details on the website about the Development Academy other than the players is in rather short supply. There are no photos of the management/coaches/support staff as their should be and it would be really interesting to have the fixtures available well in advance, where possible.
One of the criticisms last season was that the Development Academy seemed to get something of a raw deal in terms of how it was promoted by the club. It’s early days still and whilst signs are encouraging, the fact that Friday’s game doesn’t seem to have been ‘sold’ to supporters by the club is disappointing.
Lots of supporters have expressed interest in the game and it almost seems as if it’s been left to the fans to self-promote it via the Messageboard, with Rob C in the end contacting the club to confirm the game and the cost of entry.
That doesn’t bode too well…
And this isn’t a gripe, just an observation…full marks for Coventry for the build -up to the Wasps game which has been excellent, especially via social media. Not so the Nighthawks’ game though and there’s always the danger of players feeling a little alienated in such situations.
There will be some supporters who will be shying away from the Wasps game because of the £20 entrance and who might well see the Nighthawks as a very attractive alternative – £5 and the promise of watching a very open and entertaining game.
Titchener, Roach, Lane, McNulty, Flinn, Asiedu et al. make for a very attack-minded back division and with a strong pack that includes the likes of Gray, Hutchinson and Priestley, all with first team experience, it should be well worth watching.
I would have thought it would be a game that lent itself to some easy marketing – especially with the links with Cambridge that still exist and particularly given Cambridge’s former Director of Rugby, Ross Stewart, now heads up Coventry’s Development Academy.
Or maybe that’s just me getting a bit carried away again…
Doubtless, Cambridge will come with the intention of spoiling the evening somewhat, so the more support for the home side the better…a chance for the youngsters to hear that famous Cov roar. The more the game is advertised, the better attended it will be. With a decent crowd of 500-600, under floodlights and with another game on the Saturday to look forward to, it could be a great evening’s rugby…
If you haven’t already guestimated the size of Saturday’s crowd for the Wasps’ game, then please do give it a go. I’ll post the results on Saturday.
Thank you in advance.
Tom Branston was at Twickenham yesterday for the RFU’s official launch of the Championship 2018/19 season. Plenty on Cov’s Twitter account to look through if you haven’t yet had a chance.
In addition to Tom’s excellent output, I thought I’d include an official RFU photo showing the 12 team captains together…
Needless to say, it’s great to see Heath Stevens in such illustrious company, but the main reason I’ve included it is because Bedford’s shirt would be pretty much the perfect design for Cov supporters like myself who remember the old broad hoops of the 60s and 70s. It looks more ‘Coventry’ than Coventry’s.
Replace the sky blue with white and it would be ideal – sometimes change isn’t always for the best.
I like the current design too, and I do think it stands out amongst those worn in the photo; other than Bedford’s. But it’s a return to the thin hoops…
It’s pure nostalgia on my part and I’m sure I’ll be very much in the minority over this, but the broad hoops have been synonymous with Cov for decades and for old fuddy-duddies like me, it’s hard letting go of all the old traditions.
Remember, the scene in Mary Poppins in which Michael creates panic in the bank when he demands his 2d back – in the end causing everyone to want to withdraw their money?
Paddy Power be afraid, be very afraid.
When Cov top the table in April and we come to withdraw our winnings, well I just hope you’ve got enough equity readily available…