When the mist clears…

11Oct - by Tim - 4 - In Club talk

I’m on my way from misery to happiness today
I’m on my way from misery to happiness today
I’m on my way to what I want from this world
And years from now you’ll make it to the next world
And everything that you receive up yonder
Is what you gave to me the day I wandered

The Proclaimers –  On My Way

The week’s been well and truly humped now, so rather than looking backwards at what was a very lacklustre Coventry performance last Saturday, it’s time to look forwards to this week’s game against London Scottish which seems to have taken on an added significance following Coventry’s disappointing run of three defeats.

Or almost time.

In two of those games, against Hartpury and Richmond, we might have expected rather more from, but this season Cov have reverted to old habits, failing to find any real form away from home whilst saving their best performance of the season for London Irish, the team most feel are this season’s favourites for promotion.

Whilst we can’t change the result of the Richmond game, hopefully the coaches and players can turn  things around in training this week to ensure that Cov run out on Saturday with an attitude similar to that which saw them beat Jersey Reds and Bedford Blues at home and push Irish all the way.

The last blog post was entitled ‘Home Truths‘ in reference to Heath Stevens’ post-match comment immediately after the Richmond game, but a far better headline would have been one that Pete Davies came up with in responding to it, namely ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is‘.

In front of a loud and often partisan home crowd (and that’s not using the word ‘partisan’ in any pejorative sense at all), there’s no lack of heart in the performances we’ve seen this season. None whatsoever. That said, away from home is perhaps a different matter and Pete’s comment, one that appears to suggest we play with more self-belief and confidence at the Butts than we do away from home, seems spot on to me.

I’d never criticise any Coventry side for a lack of effort or commitment and last Saturday the disappointment in the faces of the players after the game was clear to see. That performance hurt them.

One thing I forgot to mention previously was that this was the first game so far this season in which the supporters exited stage right very quickly after the final whistle. Normally, they travelling fans wait either in the main stand or pitch side whilst the players go into their huddle, ready ready to cheer them off the pitch, win or lose .

Not so on Saturday.

Yes, it was a bit wet, but the stand was almost clear and the walkways virtually deserted by the time the players made their way to the tunnel. A few relatives remained to chat, but otherwise it was eerily quiet.

Whether that’s coincidence or a preference on the part of the supporters to head for the bar in a bid to dull the pain sooner rather than later I’m not sure, but there was plenty of frustration in both camps.

Enough on Richmond though.

As I said earlier, time to look forward to the visit of London Scottish…

It’s too soon  to be saying this is a ‘must win’ game, but any fixture involving Scottish, Richmond or Hartpury has to take on greater significance given these clubs, along with Coventry, were the ones  that most supporters outside of Coventry felt would be fighting it out amongst themselves in April to stay clear of that 12th spot.

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It’s Round 7 of the Championship on Saturday, so we’re already almost a third of the way through the season and the table is beginning to sort its self out a little. Along with Hartpury and Sottish, Yorkshire Carnegie and Doncaster have made disappointing starts and at the moment their form must be of huge concern to their supporters, even more so than Cov’s is to us.

And such a promising start, Coventry have slipped to 8th now and it wouldn’t take much to see us drop a couple more places if results don’t go our way at the weekend.

I know some supporters prefer not to look at tables so soon into the season as so much can change in just a few games; there’s no need to be overly worried at this stage.

However, tat’s not an opinion I altogether share.

I do think we should absolutely be aware of where we currently are, and a little concerned, too. Tables don’t lie. Even after six games. I’ve always said I think we’ll finish around 8th and still believe that to be the case, but for that to happen, we have to be beating teams like Scottish – preferably home and away.

The last thing we want to be doing next April is having to rely on other teams’ results to keep us safe. Ealing (a) and Yorkshire Carnegie (h) follow Scottish before the break for the Cup games and we need at least one win, hopefully two, to put us in a relatively comfortable position before the restart of the league on the final Saturday before Christmas.

At least that’s how I read it.

Our last five games this season are against Ealing (h), Yorkshire Carnegie (a), Nottingham (h), Doncaster (a) and Jersey (a). I’d much rather be fairly safe by then than have to go to Jersey needing to get something from the game.

London Scottish come to us on the back of a thumping defeat last Sunday against Irish at home (17-54)  -a reminder perhaps of just how good our performance against Irish was just two weekends ago.

Bizarrely, their two wins so far this season were also against Jersey Reds and Bedford Blues, although the Bedford game was away which on current form suggests that they travel a little better than we do, at least on current form.

Scottish played their game last weekend on the Sunday, so they will have one day less in which to prepare than Cov this week. I only mention this because Rowland Winter felt it was  a factor  in our second half performance against Bedford earlier in the season, having travelled down to play Pirates the Sunday before. If you recall, in the first half we blitzed Bedford somewhat and raced into an early lead only to tire a little in the second half and allow Blues back in a game we had dominated early on.

Highlights: London Scottish v London Irish

The above link will take you to the London Scottish website where you can view highlights of last weekend’s game against London Irish. (Thanks Ed)

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A quick question – this might be me getting hopelessly confused, but in the team that played Irish last weekend, Scottish included a flanker by the name of James Tyas.

I have a vague recollection of us signing a player by the name of James Tyas a good few years ago, but the player never appeared for some reason…? He also played in the back row. Is that the case and, if so, is this the same player, or have I just got a little confused?

Maybe we were linked with him and no more …?

I remember at the time supporters were quite excited at the ‘signing’ that never was, or wasn’t, as the case may be.

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Scottish will certainly be smarting following their most recent defeat and doubtless they, too, will be looking at Coventry as one of the sides they need to be beating in order to guarantee their Championship survival. Their performance against Irish wasn’t one of their better ones by all accounts and our form against Irish the week before should give us heart. We are certainly a very different team at home and we really ought to be going into the game as favourites really, even with after such a disappointing display against Richmond.

The Scottish report on the game suggests that:

Without doubt Scottish did not play at their best, but you have to applaud London Irish for their resilience in defence and their variety of attack. Of the Scottish team, great performances again from Bright, Stevenson, Tyas, and Smith.

with the headline referring rather favourably, from a Scottish point of view, to a ‘nine try thriller‘.

It’s probably worth pointing out, though, that Irish scored seven of them rather than it being a five/four split as might be inferred :).

Hopefully, there will be another 2000 plus crowd to watch the game on Saturday, although the result last weekend, and indeed the performance, won’t have enthused many of those Cov supporters who tend to make their minds up depending on the opposition, weather, Coventry’s form, other local sporting fixtures or what the rest of the family is doing on a Saturday afternoon.

And there seem to be a fair few of them these days which is promising.

Taking away the Irish support from the near 3000 attendance at our last home game, I should think there were a good 700 more Cov fans there than at the Bedford game – and it’s those supporters whom we should be soliciting, for want of a better word.

One of the really interesting things in the build up to the game against London Scottish is to see what the coaches’ reaction is to the loss at Richmond in terms of team selection. Following remarks immediately after the game, you’d expect there to be several changes, but now things have had time to settle and the players have been able to show their response in training, maybe the knife won’t be wielded quite so freely.

RW’s post-match comments reminded me of a head I once worked for.

He was a lovely bloke (still is in case he reads this!) and an exceptional school leader, but like many of us in the teaching profession, he was prone to the odd ‘red mist’.

On more than one occasion he’d be brought a child who had broken some school rule or other only for him to then call in one of the leadership team and tell us to put the unfortunate child out for five days for what was a relatively minor issue.

Disappointment tinged with a good degree of anger sometimes meant his initial reaction was as impulsive as it was draconian.

The child would be mortified and we’d usher the pupil away, only to then hide him/her in a room well out of the way. One of us would return  to the head’s office a couple of hours later after he’d had time to calm down and ask him if he was sure 5 days was the appropriate sanction.

With an acceptance that perhaps his initial response might have been more emotive than reasoned, invariably, his punishment for said child would be reduced to a couple of detentions and a week’s litter duty, much to the relief of all concerned.

Funnily enough, the child seldom repeated his indiscretion.

Rowland Winter could be entirely forgiven had he been suffering something of a similar red mist himself having just watched Coventry’s performance against Richmond.

Hopefully though, the sharing of a few ‘home truths’ amongst the players and coaches will have cleared the air and training this week will have gone positively thus far, with the proviso as we’ve seen before that a good week’s training is currently no guarantee of a good performance at the weekend.

So, wholesale changes or  just a tweak here and there?

Charlie Beech might be out following the injury he picked up in the first half against Richmond, although when we briefly spoke to him after the game he didn’t think it was anything at all serious. Fingers crossed on this one.

Jake Sharp will surely be desperate to play against his former club. With Will Maisey not quite firing on all cylinders just yet, Sharp must stand a very good chance of getting the nod.

Other than those two, it’s anyone’s guess. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, what the game needed most was a couple of Cov players to step up and lead from the front as much as anything and that won’t necessarily happen by making a number of changes.

If James Voss passes his head injury protocols then I rather imagine he’ll be a shoo-in after the problems we had in the set pieces last weekend, which means either Tom Jubb or Dan Faleata will miss out.

And with a bit of luck, James Stokes’ hamstring might not be as serious as it sounds and he could be in the reckoning for a quicker than expected return to the team. He was definitely missed on Saturday.

Yes, there will be a few ins and outs, but at home we are a very different side from the one we saw last week, so when the mist clears perhaps there won’t be quite as many as

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If every you want a bit of a lift, then this is one of those upbeat songs that can’t fail but put you in a happier mood.

The Proclaimers have appeared before with ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)‘, but this is a welcome return for the brothers Reid.

(I’m sure the guy playing the piano in the video is a young Will Hurrell…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “When the mist clears…”

  1. Tim, according to Bedford the reason that London Scottish beat them was because of a bug which was going through the changing room leaving many of the Blues players close to being unable to play. They claim that the RFU did not sanction a postponement, whilst the RFU claim they were never asked!
    In any event, we so much need a win this weekend. The weather doesn’t look promising, but we really don’t want a repeat of last Saturday.

    1. Hi Cliff – great to hear from you! Yes, you’re quite right to mention that, I remember reading about it at the time although I can’t recall the details. All a bit strange and it dos throw a different light on to the Scottish win, doesn’t it. Big game Saturday, let’s hope for an even bigger response from the team.

    1. D’oh, thanks for pointing that out, Ed. No idea what I was doing there, even went on the Scottish/Irish websites. Too late, too tired I expect. Apologies to all

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