He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
Kenny Rogers – The Gambler
I’m not a vindictive person by any means and no more revengeful than most.
But I am occasionally a little unforgiving.
Which is another reason why I wanted Coventry to beat Richmond last Saturday.
Almost a year ago, at a time when Cov were already riding high in National One and already overwhelming favourites for promotion into the Championship, the Director of Rugby at Richmond, Steve Hill (and still the present incumbent), failed to make any mention of Cov at all when talking about the competitiveness of National One sides and their possible involvement in a replacement cup competition given the British and Irish Cup was already doomed:
If the RFU continue with a cup they should include the rest of the national leagues as teams like Darlington Mowden Park and Blackheath can cause an upset and it adds variety – we are playing Ealing and Rotherham four times this season
(The Rugby Paper – Nov 2nd 2017)
Whilst I agree totally with the sentiments behind the statement, the failure to mention Coventry back then as a potential giant killer might have been a mere oversight to most, but to Coventry supporters (or to me anyway), it was something of a slight. I would imagine Plymouth fans, not long out of the Championship themselves, might also have felt something similar.
It shouldn’t have bugged me at the time but it did, and as is pretty clear from this post, it still does :).
My size isn’t the only elephantine thing about me.
His comments were made to The Rugby Paper and whilst much of what Hill said in the article was spot on, it did raise my hackles somewhat. Being overlooked as one of the top clubs in National One even as we were already beginning to run away with the league was a tad insensitive towards us Cov fans.
In fairness though, that apart, it’s hard not to agree with much of what Hill had to say. He was understandably miffed that:
We don’t get any money from the RFU for the group cup games; we’ve got a trip to Connacht this season and with flights, hotels and for 35 players and staff, that’s going to cost us more than £10,000, but there is a lack of a main sponsor to provide additional funding
a view that was widely shared by other Championship clubs and one that made the British and Irish Cup pretty much non-viable long-term. A trip to Connacht might have been welcomed by one or two Cov fans, but for a newly promoted Cov side it would have been something of a millstone around the neck of the Coventry Board in the absence of a rich benefactor or two.
And for a number of supporters like me, it would have come down to a choice of travelling to Jersey for a Championship game or Connacht for the Cup.
One yes, both no…
Hill’s other gripe about the British and Irish Cup though hasn’t been resolved after the creation of the new RFU Championship Cup, namely the fact that ‘we are playing Ealing and Rotherham four times this season‘.
I think this year Richmond are drawn with London Scottish, Ealing and Jersey in their opening series of round-robin games. Presumably there might be a benefit in terms of gate receipts for both Richmond and Scottish, although with the likelihood that attendances will be well down anyway, it won’t be a significant one.
Bet they’ll be sick of the sight of each other by the end of the season.
Hill’s suggestion of introducing teams from National One into the Championship Cup would have made the competition far less incestuous, although having seen the extra physicality involved in the Championship at first hand now, some of the third tier sides with smaller squads might not have been overly keen to risk possible injury perhaps.
Still, it might have been a good opportunity for Premiership clubs to give a few more of their Academy players a welcome outing… 🙂
I’m probably of a different opinion, again, to most Cov supporters in that I’m genuinely excited by the prospect of the new cup competition and all it brings to clubs like Cov. For me, cup rugby still brings back memories of one of Coventry’s greatest eras, with all the thrills and expectations that went with it.
So what if this is a bit of a micky-mouse competition according to some? It’s something new to us and offers a break from what has been a fairly intense opening couple of months thus far. And on top of that, Rowland Winter has repeatedly said he’s ‘in it to win it’ and so the hope is that whilst it will be an opportunity to give some of our promising youngsters in the Development Squad a run out in the first team, they could also be playing alongside some experienced members of the first team squad.
That mixture of youth and experience would make for some really interesting games against seasoned Championship sides that probably won’t view the cup with quite the same degree of enthusiasm as Coventry’s Director of Rugby.
The chance to see perhaps Povey and Roach team up with Halaifonua, Titchener partnering Tuitupou, Gray with Oram, Povoas in the back row with Makaafi and Nutley or Flinn with Sharp is one that whets the appetite. It would seem an ideal step up for those Coventry youngsters who have been successful at their junior clubs so far this season.
An incentive certainly, if not a reward.
Maybe Dawidiuk with be fit by then, starting in a from row between Titchard-Jones (although he hardly counts as a youngster!) and Jeannot.
To see some of the Development Squad come through and play in a Cov shirt in a competitive game, albeit one still not greatly valued amongt other clubs in the Championship, is an exciting prospect. There’s no cost involved if you have a season ticket and presumably there will be a fairly significant reduction for those paying on the gate. So what’s not to like really?
Maybe in the years to come when Coventry have got their eyes on bigger and better things, then the cup won’t hold the same degree of anticipation, but for this year anyway I’m really looking forward to it and have every intention of getting to the away games if the Supporters’ Club will be running coaches to Nottingham, Leeds and Doncaster, which is the case as I understand it.
There are still three games to go before the cup competition takes over, three big games which will rightly be the sole focus of the players and coaches.
But still… another cup ‘run’ and a final at Twickenham after all these years?
I’ve never stopped dreaming.
And never will.
Coventry’s home record is beginning to cost me dear – as indeed is their away one.
Although not for the same reason, sadly.
At home we’re seen as something of a fortress despite the Irish result and away, well it’s hard to see where a win is going to come front at the moment.
Bookmakers aren’t known for their generosity, but Paddy Power has taken it to a whole new level this weekend.
Against a side just one place below Cov in the table and one that already has an away win to its name (although note CB’s comment on yesterday’s post), Paddy Power has made Cov the 3/10 on favourites for tomorrow’s game, whilst Scottish are a fairly generous 13/5 against.
As you can see from the table below, I’m currently £6 down, having gone against my better judgment and invested £10 rather than the original £5 on the last three games. The wins against Jersey and Bedford helped the finances considerably and against Hartpury and Richmond I was guilty of being a little overconfident, opting for the extra fiver on the bets because I really felt we would come away with the points.
Against Irish, the 6/1 odds were just too good to resist and I was minutes away from pocketing a whopping £70, a sum that would have seen me in credit virtually until Christmas.
But for the Scottish game I’m reverting back to a more prudent approach and have only invested £5. A Cov win would see me pocket £6.50 – along with all the problems of how to spend such a princely sum.
To be honest, even though it would have meant betting against Cov, I was sorely tempted to bung ten quid on Scottish and hope for the away win.
I certainly don’t see Cov as anything like run away favourites for tomorrow’s game, hence the more restrained approach this week. It rather looks as if these kinds of odds will be commonplace when Cov are at home this season, so my best bet would seem to be go cautious when Cov are at the BPA and speculate when they’re on the road.
It sounds rather like a recipe for financial disaster, but I set myself the task at the beginning of the season of betting on every game and I have every intention of seeing it through, although if by any chance the grandchildren are reading this – kids, Christmas 2018 might well be a little more austere than has been the case in previous years.
Cov could help, of course, by beating Ealing away next week, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one. I think that’s probably one of those games that proves the lie in the saying ‘You have to speculate to accumulate’.
As Kenny Rogers knows:
If you’re gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right
I came across this Cov pin badge last week whilst tidying out a little used drawer. I’ve no idea how long I’ve had it and I certainly don’t remember buying it, so I’m presuming it had been there a good few years.
But I’m pleased to have found it and I’ll certainly wear it with pride from now on – I wonder if they’re still available or if there’s a newer design?
If there are pin badges available, then I’m not sure where one can get hold of them. The SHOP hyperlink on the official website not unsurprisingly takes you to O’Neills where all the replica clothing is accessible, but I’ve no idea where other Cov gifts can be purchased, or if indeed if there are any out there.
I know mention has been made of a few mugs still available at Reception, but with Christmas fast approaching and Coventry far more marketable than they were, especially with the advent of the Coventry Didis and a greater number of younger supporters, it seems a wasted opportunity.
It strikes me the Club are missing a trick there – there’s always a demand for smaller stocking fillers…pens, pencils, rules, pencil cases, stationery, key fobs and so on. I’m forever looking at smaller items for the grandchildren so I’d be first in the line should these ever become available.
There is an initial outlay, but sensible ordering would ensure that there’s enough stock to last a season or two and maybe it’s something the Supporters’ Club could help promote, too. I seem to recall Cliff B mentioning in a comment a while back that there were also plans for a Cov calendar which is exactly the sort of thing that supporters would want to get their hands on in the coming weeks.
Such items could be permanently on display behind the bar or in some other prominent area (as well as on the website) and a couple of emails sent to all club members over the course of the season, including a list of what is available, together with prices and images of the items, would involve pretty minimal admin after it was first put together.
And it’s not just kids who love to receive pens, a keyring or similar merchandise with the Coventry logo on – I’d certainly be happy to get that from any one of my grandchildren and it would be far more loved than a pair of Santa socks or a chocolate reindeer.
And Sam, don’t even think about it….
The lack of small Coventry Rugby Club gifts and novelty items has been mentioned before on this blog and elsewhere, so it’s not exactly a new topic of discussion which only heightens the frustration.
Maybe this is all available already and I’m just slow on the uptake again, in which case I apologise in advance.
But if it isn’t, then perhaps it should be.
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
I worked with a chap who was virtually a professional gambler – although on the horses rather than in casinos. He even got caught out once when he’d taken a ‘sickie’ and was seen by someone on the tele at the races.
He often quoted the above couple of lines from Kenny Rogers’ ‘The Gambler‘ and to be fair he seemed to do very well out of his investments.
As for the song itself, I could never have listened to country and western in my more formative years, but I have to admit that after Costello’s ‘Almost Blue‘ album and his spell in Nashville I became a little more open to its charms.
Great video, too.
Categories: Club talk