I can’t seem to face up to the facts
I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax
I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire
Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire…
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
Ealing Trailfinders on Friday.
Ealing Trailfinders; one of only two teams that did the double over us last season and in the process amassing over a 121 points, beating us 21-60 at the BPA and 60-25 at down at Vallis Way
The other team, of course, was London Irish who could only manage a paltry 73 despite deservedly winning promotion.
Small wonder then that Psycho Killer gets an airing today…
Like many Cov supporters during the build up to this Friday evening’s kick off, I am indeed tense and nervous and unable to relax and whilst David’ Bryne’s song was written about the inner workings of a psycho killer’s mind, that first verse could equally represent the feelings of many a Cov supporter over the next couple of days.
But the strange thing is, I’m on edge not because I believe Cov will be on the wrong end of another thumping, but rather because this season I think we’re far better equipped to test Ealing than we were last season. May I can’t ‘face up to facts‘ and really Ealing are going to be just as dominant this season, but I genuinely believe Cov are a stronger side this season and the gap should have closed.
Will have closed.
I’m on edge because I hope, no believe, Cov will do themselves proud on Friday.
The experience we gained from last year’s campaign, with a squad now with far greater depth across the whole team which includes players with Premiership and equivalent experience, and with the advantage of playing on a new pitch in front of what will be a loud and partisan crowd makes it potentially a much closer contest.
Not an even one, by any means.
But definitely a closer one.
Ealing still go into the game clear favourites but I genuinely expect to see a Coventry performance closer to the shift we put in against Irish at home last season (when we lost 17-21 and arguably could and should have won) than the very one-sided contest at home against Trailfinders back in March in which the gulf between the two sides was clear for all to see. Although it’s just one game and whatever the result we shouldn’t be reading too much into it, anything less than an improved performance will be a huge disappointment for me.
Rowland Winter has stated that as far as the Cup is concerned he’s in it to win it and that he’ll be picking the best available side at all times, so irrespective of the team facing us on Friday night, Cov will be pretty near full strength. It will be interesting to see if that gap really has narrowed, even though it’s still very early days as far as this season is concerned.
Despite the two heavy defeats against Ealing last season, for the second half of that first encounter in October, Cov really troubled the home side. Having conceded the best part of a point a minute in the first 40, in the end Cov scored 4 tries themselves and in the process showed plenty of grit and determination to produce the kind of display that at least gave the travelling Cov supporters something to take away from the game that afternoon.
At the interval it really was all gloom and despondency.
In their opening two games in the Cup so far, Ealing beat Ampthil 43-5 at home and then won at Bedford 26-57. No pressure then…
But even so…
And that’s where the nerves are for me. Coventry have delivered in all the games I’ve watched so far this season. Some performances have been better than others, but in all those games (bearing in mind I wasn’t at Leinster in August) Cov were always favourite for the win, even against Bedford given the home advantage..
Not so on Friday…not by a distance.
So this is the first BIG test for this squad.
Yes, it’s ‘just’ a Cup game, but neither Winter or the players will see it that way. What makes it such an interesting game for me is that despite everything to the contrary, part of me believes Cov could spring a shock or two.
All supporters in every support cling on to the belief, however unlikely, that a surprise is on the cards.
In this instance, a win would undoubtedly be a real shock and the rest of the league would certainly have to sit up and take note were that to happen. Less of a surprise though, indeed it has to be an expectation if we are setting ourselves challenging targets this season, would be a closer scoreline and a performance on a level well above that of the two games last season.
That is what I’m expecting at the very least.
So for me this is an early indication of where we currently are in our preparations for the Championship proper which starts a week on Saturday against Jersey.
I’ll be restless on Thursday night…’unable to sleep ’cause my beds on fire‘.
Perhaps the choice of ‘Psycho Killer‘ for today’s post is even more apposite given it contains the lyrics:
Realisant mon espoir
Je me lance, vers la gloire,
…which roughly translated (I knew my A level French would come in useful eventually) means ‘aware of my power, I throw myself towards glory’…
as maybe there lies Coventry’s best chance of beating Ealing.
However well Ealing have recruited, however, strong their squad is, Coventry have the ability to beat any side in this league. Believe that, really believe it, and that upset could yet happen…
For Cov supporters, the Ealing game is definitely not one to be missed.
It could be one of those ‘I was there’ moments…
‘Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far‘ better to be there than to…
…’Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, away oh oh oh…‘
One of the frustrations of having such a large squad is losing track of the number of players who go out on loan.
I know I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but a simple, permanent list on the website of who is where, updated as and when, would be really useful.
It might well be that this has been included in a news update somewhere in previous weeks (and apologies if this is the case), but that would mean searching through every news item over a couple of months potentially, something which would require a degree of patience that I, for one, just do not possess.
I was particularly interested, therefore, to read Tim Street’s article on the CambridgeshireLive website entitled ‘Cambridge RUFC pleased with Creighton’s progress‘.
Fin Creighton is one of a number of promising Cov youngsters who have been sent out on loan to clubs in National One and Two to gain further experience. Cambridge currently have four players with them, the others being David Langley, James Martin and Kailus Hutchinson. Max Titchener was also at Cambridge until recently, but he has since left for Hull in order to get some first team games under his belt.
Best of luck to Max, and to Hull. Always a great club to visit.
Whilst loan moves don’t always work out as well as is expected, Fin Creighton seems to be impressing Cambridge Head Coach Richie Williams.
Fin is growing with confidence with every week. He’s at a professional club during the week now and learning from Nick Walshe, who is a former scrum half himself.
Saturday was the best day Fin has had for us, he really controlled the game. You can see the progress he is making, and we are really pleased with it.
Nice to see Nick Walshe getting the credit there, too. So often the accolades, understandably I guess, go to Cov’s Director of Rugby, with the coaches often being neglected…nice to see the balance redressed a little here.
Finn apparently had a blinder in Cambridge’s narrow loss away to Rotherham on Saturday, scoring a couple of tries and causing plenty of difficulties for the hosts.
As I recall, Creighton came on during the second half of the friendly against Coventry in August, breaking through the Cov defence on a couple of occasions, a defence which up to then hadn’t been under too much pressure. He certainly made an impression on me, enough to ask a home supporter his name, not knowing at the time he was a Cov loanee. He actually looked a little like Will Flinn, oddly enough.
Clearly Cambridge rate him very highly.
Another decent prospect then, but with Flinn, White and Kessell ahead of him, he’s got his work cut out to break into the first team squad. Interestingly, Williams makes the point that as far as the loanees are concerned:
They’re all fairly young players with bright futures we have borrowed from Coventry, and we have made sure the players we loan we have for the full season, which reinforces and stabilises
which probably means we won’t be seeing a great deal of him or the others in the short term, although given the opportunities he and the others are getting at Cambridge, together with the additional coaching mid-week at Coventry, maybe that will be different in a season or two.
With one of the senior Cambridge forwards out injured, it looks like Hutchinson will also be getting some much needed game time too:
We expect George Bretag-Norris will be out for a few weeks, so Kalius will be an important player for us in the second row. The link with Coventry has been quite fruitful for us – most National One sides have link ups with Championship or Premiership sides
which bodes well for Cov in the longer term, too.
Talking Heads have made an appearance in the blog on a number of occasions – most notably in the Maynard/Morgan era when Road to Nowhere became something of an anthem…
Mrs Merton famously asked Debbie Magee what first attracted her to her ‘millionaire husband, Paul Daniels’…
I can’t remember what first attracted me to Talking Heads, a group that included the gorgeous Tina Weymouth amongst its number…
And here it is…
(And Kevin H, if you’re reading this, Costello tickets now booked. Many thanks)!