Jersey tomorrow – the odds are in our favour

Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it’s all right, if you got someone to love
Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line
The Traveling Wilburys – End Of The Line

I’ve started writing this post in the lounge of a hotel overlooking the bay at St Brelade, just a 10 minute taxi ride from Jersey’s ground, the grandly named Stade Santander International.

Butts Park Arena doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, although as stadiums go, I’ll take the BPA every time.

The views out to sea are pretty spectacular, with white horses leaping and prancing along the shoreline and one or two surfers making the most of what must be near perfects conditions for them.

The wind is surprisingly strong at the moment and if it stays like this tomorrow, it could well have a significant bearing on the outcome of the game.

As we took off from Birmingham, the pilot had warned it might be a bumpy flight as he was expecting some high winds along the way. Now I’m not the best of fliers and when the captain uses the word ‘bumpy’ you can pretty much guarantee it’s a euphemism for something rather more jarring…

Whilst it wasn’t the white knuckle ride I’d at first feared, the landing wasn’t the smoothest I’ve ever experienced, bad enough in fact for the lady next to me to enquire if I was ok, much to my embarrasmment. I’m sure the older, propeller driven engines on the smaller planes (Sue always refers to them as crop sprayers)  make for a rather more turbulent flight.

But at least I’m here.

In comparison to previous visits St Brelade is very quiet, but there again my only experience of coming to Jersey in the past is for a weekend either in August or April, so that’s hardly surprising with the holiday season almost over now.

The taxi driver on the way from the airport was bemoaning the demise of Thomas Cook, but hopeful that the developments this week might yet ensure that Jersey remains relatively unscathed from the collapse of another global player in the world travel market.

One of the more sobering rides I’ve had in the back of a taxi I have to say….

The first thing I did after I’d checked-in was to log on to the Cov website to see if the team for tomorrow had been released.

It was good news. There it was.

And a pretty decent one it is too…hard to see how it could have been a great deal stronger either, considering the various injuries and absences.

No real surprises and I think I’m right in saying its the first time that we’ll have seen all three of the back rowers recruited over the summer start a game – Nayalo, Wallace and Burrows. Individually, they’ve all looked in excellent form so far, with Nayalo deservedly winning the MofM award for his performance last week against Ealing. He looked to be hobbling when he came off but clearly he was just battle weary – as he had every right to be.

All three are strong runners and if they get good ball I’d love to see them look to punch holes in the Jersey defence, tie up their defenders and provide quick ball for the fliers outside, with Wallace and Nayalo also popping up on the shoulder of the ball carrier wherever possible. And if they are needed to defend…well, we saw what Wallace and Nayalo are capable of against Ealing. A few games yet before we see the best of them, but nevertheless it’s an exciting prospect.

I do like the way Rowland Winter sticks with players when they perform. Nile Dacres deserves his place after his performance last week even though it’s only his second full game back. George Oram on the bench is a handy player to come on in the last 20 minutes or so too.

In the backs, Rob Knox goes out wide to replace the injured Junior Bulumakau. It wasn’t that long ago that one of the main talking points most games was whether Knoxy was better suited to wing or 13. It’s not something that’s discussed at all these days  – Nick Walshe seems to have instilled in him the belief that midfield is his best position and he has thrived ever since. To be honest though, he’s one of those players who looks as if all he wants to do is put on a Cov jersey, irrespective of where he plays. Stick him in the front row and he’ll still give his all.

Also back in is Will Owen, a player who has impressed since he arrived here at the back end of last season. Until I read Bobby Bridge’s recent article on the CoventryLive website, I have to admit I hadn’t realised that  he is another son of a former Cov player. Glyn apparently made 13 appearances for Coventry in the mid-80s, but I’m ashamed  to admit that I cant recall him.

Will is a local lad:

….Finham Park school and Kenilworth RFC where he played alongside Will Maisey as a mini and junior before progressing to the colts and senior XV’s.

and clearly harboured ambitions of playing for Coventry from a young age:

I’ve always said I wanted to play for them. And then as soon as they came back up to the championship, I spoke to a few of the lads that I knew who were ready.
And they said is (sic), you know really good, set up. Really professional, Rowland’s doing a good job, Nick is doing a good job and sold it to me.

In a video clip in the same article, Will talks about how Coventry have always had a desire to play attacking rugby, to be ‘expansive and run the wide channels’ and how this is often reflected in the club’s recruitment, especially among the forwards, whom will says are often ‘dynamic’.

That kind of reiterates the comment I made earlier in the post about the back row for tomorrow’s game – all three add that dynamism that Will mentions in the video.

He goes on to say the new surface at the BPA will allow Cov to develop their attacking  rugby still further, with the faster pitch and drier ball leading to fewer mistakes.

It’s really nice to run on. When it’s dry, it’s really nice to be able to move the ball, it changes a little bit so it can change your kicking game for example, whereby last year, you might get a kick through and it would just plug, whereas this year it will roll and skid a little bit more on this. So it will change the way we play. We’ve got quite a dynamic pack so be nice to get them moving around on it as well.

So far I’ve had no had no issues with it at all.

He certainly seems to be enjoying his rugby at Cov at the moment and he, Stevens, Andy Bulumakau and Knox, together with Henry Purdy who’s only a couple of weeks or so away from joining up with the squad, will give Rowland Winter plenty of options amongt the backs.

Paddy Power, the bookmakers, aren’t particularly renowned for their generous odds when it comes to betting on the RFU Championship, but at 12/5 to win tomorrow Cov  are a decent bet I reckon and I’ll certainly be having a little flutter.

For once, the odds are in our favour.

Two evenly matched sides in a two horse race. Got to be worth a punt, surely?

But then that’s why Paddy Power make money and I’ll never be rich.

On the other hand, if you’re in any way inclined to believe it’s Jersey who will be taking home the spoils, then 3/10-on is probably best avoided. And only a fool would bet on the draw… :).

No odds on winning the league on the PP website…last year I managed to get Cov at the Leicester-like odds of 500-1 which was just too good to pass by.

This year they’ll be significantly reduced but you have to believe. £5 to win the league? Definitely.

Last year betting on Cov saw me down a few quid, but not much after Cov’s wins at Doncaster and Jersey at the end of the season; they went some way to balancing the books. Hopefully, Cov will continue where they left of last April.

(Update – when I got round to placing the bet (or at least Sam placed it on my behalf) the odds were even better, at 11/4. Happy bunny – expect my tweets to get rather emotive should the result hang in the balance in the final few minutes!)

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If you’re not at the game tomorrow, I think there will be live coverage on BBC Radio and also both Coventry and Jersey will provide updates via their Twitter accounts.

As always, I’ll be tweeting a ‘commentary’ of the game. Whilst my tweets might lack the technical accuracy of the above, they’ll certainly convey the emotion of the game – although admittedly I do get a little carried away at times – averaging 140 tweets a game last season!

Predictive texting and fat fingers do mean that occasionally (!) I come out with some pretty surreal comments but I know a number of people tune in, for which I am always very appreciative.

I’m on @CowshedTim should you fancy giving it a go.

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Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line
Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

Like the Traveling Wilburys, Cov supporters everywhere have every intention of going the distance, following Cov on its own journey to the end of the line.

‘To the Premiership and beyond!’.

Buzz Lightyear eat your heart out.

And whilst I’m get al little over-excited about the game tomorrow and the fact that Cov have a very real chance of recording a third consecutive Championship away win on their travels, even it ‘the sun don’t shine’ and we don’t come away with the points, well it’s alright, the journey will continue next week and the week after…

The end of the line is someway off as yet, but we’ll get there…

The Traveling Wilbury’s – the best super group ever?

Reckon so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Tim

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