Friday nights…Ampthill last week…MofM poll results

I don’t care if Monday’s blue
Tuesday’s gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you
It’s Friday I’m in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love

The Cure – Friday I’m in Love

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Twilight at the BPA

The jury is still very much out with regard to Friday night rugby at the BPA.

For some, a Friday night is always going to be problematic.

Rush hour traffic, the need to go home and get changed, see the family, bath the kids or just take the dog out for a walk  – there are always going to be difficulties.

But for others, Saturday afternoons can be equally challenging either with sporting commitments of their own, playing or watching, or family duties that make it nigh on impossible to get to a game.

Jon Sharp explained the Friday fixture in this week’s programme:

We trial this in recognition that there are many rugby fans in Coventry who on Saturdays support or play for their local clubs and so do no get to watch us play… 

Me, I much prefer Saturday afternoons as a general rule, but once in a while a change from the routine is never a bad thing and with the crowd similar in size to that against Bedford the week before, it certainly seems to be just as popular.

As a one off, anyway.

Under the lights the BPA is an impressive site and oddly seems to have a different atmosphere to that of a Saturday afternoon. It was lively before the game and the street food was popular as you would expect – indeed with many spectators probably having to forego a meal at home in the build up to kick off, maybe evening games make for better business.

I guess one down side would be that many spectators arrive for an evening game much closer to kick off than for a weekend fixture which means bar takings could suffer and partly explains the queues at the ticket office before kick off.

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One of the big factors when deciding to opt for an evening game is the impact it might have on corporate events. Whilst I’ve no idea as to whether the club’s takings were up or down in this regard, the hospitality marquee looked just as busy.

Hopefully, too, there will be those watching the game who will have decided to make a real evening of it, staying on to have a couple of drinks whereas on a Saturday afternoon they might have headed straight home. If that is the case, it’s all good news for the club.

And if Jon Sharp is right, then those who made it to the BPA on Friday who normally would be elsewhere on a Saturday afternoon will have surely left impressed by the overall experience.

Once in the ground the hospitality was excellent and the rugby pulsating. The next blank Saturday and it’s back to Cov.

At least I imagine that’s what the Board are hoping will happen.

And maybe there’s a rugby side to it, too.

Bring the bigger clubs over to us on a Friday and take then out of their comfort zone.

True, it’s the same for Cov, but we will always have the advantage of playing at home.

Ealing will have had to travel down early to avoid the rush hour traffic and probably have had to hang around somewhere close by. Psychologically maybe it gave us a slight edge…

And in games which are as tough on the body as Friday’s so obviously was, it gives both sides an extra day to recover before the next game the following Saturday. However you feel about Friday night rugby, I’m sure both the coaches and the players are welcoming that extra day off before training starts again tomorrow morning.

Anything we can do to gain even a slight advantage, provided it is within the spirit of the game, should be encouraged.

Was it sheer coincidence that Coventry opted to bring one of the top two clubs in the league here on a Friday evening, rather than say an Ampthill or a Hartpury?

Whatever the reason, it was an experiment that seemed to work. There was no reduction in the size of the crowd from the previous week, it was a better performance than many we’ve seen on a Saturday afternoon and most supporters left the ground very happy. Indeed. a fair few who didn’t make it were left wishing they had.

Yes, there were issues over parking and admission and whilst they are frustrating to those affected by them, they were no more than teething problems which will be sorted in due course.

The club won’t be able to please all supporters all of the time, so to sometimes experiment in the way they have with Friday night rugby seems the right way to go about things.

Newcastle come to us in March.

Whilst most supporters will be hoping for a Saturday kick off, as it is currently scheduled to be, a little part of me would like to see them have to travel down here on a Thursday afternoon or Friday morning and face a Coventry side in front of a massive crowd under the floodlights.

That would be something special.

giphy1Oh, and just to make it even more epic, it would be the top two teams fighting for promotion…

Can you imagine?

For Eves, read Winter…

All in all, I thought the whole match day experience on Friday was a very positive one.

As Robbie Smith might say…

It’s Friday I’m in love…

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Back in August XL Motors announced a major extension of their sponsorship with Coventry Rugby Club, to include:

Motors logo on the Coventry Rugby home and away playing shirts and the main stand at Butts Park Arena re-named as the XL Motors Stand, as well as increased pitchside presence in the stadium.

I’ve been to 3 or 4 games at the BPA now and it was only on Friday night I noticed that the XL advertising is even on the reverse side of the boards on the front of the main stand roof (see photo, that’s not the best description!)…it actually looks really impressive.

As does the advertising around the ground generally.  The Butts Park Arena now has the look and feel of a top Championship ground and the team working so hard to generate additional income seem to be doing a really good job.

As a teacher, when marking a pupil’s book I always tried to go for the ‘three positives one negative rule’, with suggestions as to how that one problem area could be improved.  The post reads, I hope, as an overwhelmingly positive one but if I was going to include, and I am, one aspect of match days that could be even better, then it has to be the way the scoreboard is currently being used.

When it first arrived, I got the impression from speaking to Lara that it could be far better utilised than it currently is. Running down the team before a game is fine, as is the inclusion of all the sponsors. But during the game it’s a different matter.

The clock, sandwiched as it is between the home and away teams scores, is difficult to read. The countdown from 40 minutes that was at the bottom of the screen last season was far more effective…why not just return to that? If it could reflect the stop/start of the 4th official stopwatch, so much the better.

I sat next to Kevin H on Saturday – he used his stopwatch on his wristwatch and was accurate to within a few seconds. And it certainly left us better informed.

And  what about just using the main area of the screen at half time to show last week’s highlights or something Cov orientated?

giphy 3Under the floodlights it looks even more impressive, but is the screen currently being used as effectively as it could/should be?

I’m not convinced.

Not quite sure we’re ready for ‘kiss cams’ just yet though…

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Just a quick footnote following on from the Nighthawks’ game against Ampthill last week.

Coventry put out a very young side and after taking the lead early on and playing some really expansive, attacking rugby, Ampthill eventually came back to win 33-40.

What I hadn’t realised at the time was just how experienced the Ampthil 1881 side was.

It was only after reading Rowland Winter’s programme notes for the Ealing game that I realised the Ampthill side had included ‘10+ players who had played the week before in the Championship Cup‘.

Put into that sort of context, it was an even better performance than I’d given them credit for, especially as this weekend Ampthill travelled to Bedford and beat their local rivals 12-25 in front of 3287 supporters.

Goldington Road has a capacity of 6000 apparently but whenever I’ve been there it’s been standing room only with the stands full.

Must have been one heck of an atmosphere.

And that’s just for a Cup game!

Even more reason just for some pre/post match info available to supporters at the game or on the website perhaps?

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The results of the Man of the Match Poll against Ealing are as follows:

Name                       %
Senitiki Nayalo      34
Luke Wallace         20
Adam Peters           8
Will Maisey             7

Nayalo was also the Sponsors’ choice as well which isn’t always the case. Plenty of players picked up a few votes each but the four players above were well ahead of the rest.

No surprise to see the back row take the first 3 places; they were immense on Friday evening.

Will Maisey’s second half appearance obviously impressed with the second of his two interceptions making the try for James Stokes. He’s actually deceptively quick over a distance and it took their wing almost 70 metres to run him down.

Many thanks to everyone who took part.

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The Cure…

Never has a band been better named…

 

Author: Tim

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