Doncaster – dancing the Knights away…

 So you want to believe
Everything that you read
And you think that you’re makin’ the grade
(and) just when you’re getting it made

At last they accept you
In case you go next year
And ask you to reach for the sky

The Motors – Dancing The Night Away

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Maybe ‘dancing’ the Knights away is a bit of an exaggeration, but Cov did enough to ensure they won and in the end with a scoreline of 18-6, won fairly comfortably.

More of a shuffle than a dance, perhaps?

That said, Knights probably deserved a point from a game in which they saw plenty of ball, played in our half for long periods and generally made life very difficult for the home side.

It wasn’t one of those games that will live long in the memory, and indeed there were few standout moments at all in a contest  where both teams were happy to kick away possession and press the opposition in their half. And whilst the chasers did their bit, the quality of the kicking certainly wasn’t as consistent as either side would have wished and as a result the game rarely sprang into life.

And as seems to be the case in most games these days, there were several decision from the officials that seemed to antagonise the home crowd and the number of resets in the set piece alone did nothing to help the game flow at all.

All-in-all, Cov will most likely be just happy to take the points and move on.

Fair play to Donny too, they’d done their homework and knowing Cov like to play with some pace and intensity, they did everything they could to slow the game down, taking an inordinate amount of time at lineouts and scrums or to make changes – it was all legal, but I’m not convinced it was always in the spirit of the game

But in the corresponding fixture last season Cov lost to Donny in a game which we should have won. This time round, we won in a game in which we struggled to reach the heights of the week before – but if we can play ugly and win, well that is definitely a big step up from last season where we played poorly on several occasions and deserved to lose – against Donny, Richmond (a), Hartpury (a) and Scottish (a) to name but 4.

Doncaster had enough ball and territory to have made life much harder for us than they actually did. That we nilled them in terms of tries was down to their lack of creativity and Cov’s defence which was far too good for them, despite Doncaster seeing so much ball.

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Conditions weren’t ideal, there was a near constant drizzle and a slight wind, but as you’d expect of this new pitch, there was no indication that there had been any rain this week at all from just looking at the surface. It is incredible how well it stands up to such inclement weather.

We chatted to a couple of  Cov stalwarts who help out at the club during the week and they felt that last season with a grass pitch the game might not have gone ahead, and if it had the pitch wouldn’t have recovered for weeks. Apparently, midweek the carpark had been awash with water running out from the pitch’s drainage system and surfacing near where the car wash usually takes place.

It just goes to show how much water there was at times lying under the grass surface in seasons’ past and why it often tended to pool at the railway end.

It could be interesting if there’s a good deal of rain and then a really heavy frost in the weeks to come – any entrepreneurs at the club could make Cov a small fortune by turning the carpark into an ice rink for the duration…

When we arrived, a couple of hours before kick off, there were some youngsters out on the pitch having a wonderful time with some of the Development/Academy players – this just couldn’t have happened last season with the rain we’ve had of late.

Getting in to the ground was quite as straightforward as it usually is.

Once again the two ticket machines in the carpark were causing the ground staff all sorts of problems with just the one machine working and the other appearing to be somewhat temperamental. It was giving the officials a few headaches when we arrived and those parking up weren’t slow in making their feelings known. Hopefully, it was all resolved before the rush hour…

It was mentioned by one of the attendants wearing a Hi-Viz jacket that Cov take the money from the machines and the company overseeing the parking take the fines – if that’s true, the cynic in me would tentatively suggest that ensuring the ticket machines work efficiently isn’t necessarily going to be their top priority…

And then to add to the frustrations, the main turnstile only had one ticket scanner working. Apparently there are six in total but the other five hadn’t been put on charge, so they were hoping for a quiet period that was long enough to get the other scanners up and running.

Inside the ground, however, normal service was resumed. The shop was already open and knowing that there are children/grandchildren (no’s 7 and 8 (twins 🙂 ) due very shortly now) wanting ideas for Christmas presents, I bought a Cov hat for the kids to give me.

The lady in the club shop, I think her name is Theresa, is a hoot and did her best to persuade me that the bobble hat with the thick pink band was unisex, which, of course, it is.

But as only real men can wear pink, I declined and went for the safer, all blue, option much to her disappointment.

They are lovely and welcoming in there…

Lunch was a straight choice between fish and chips and a pork roll – the roll won it but at £5, nice as it was, I’ll try the fish next time. To have the choice we now have is a real plus, especially when you compare it to most other Championship grounds where the catering is in-house. The Fans’ Zone is getting more and more popular and at half time the Sweet Stall seemed to do a booming trade…

(PS for alcoholic lightweights like me, the mobile coffee van is a godsend…)

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Coventry Rugby always honours Remembrance Day with respect and dignity. The ceremony they hold is brief and simple. When Jon Sharp reads the names of those Coventry players who fell in conflict, I never fail to get a lump in my throat…

However, and this is probably insensitive on my part, I would rather the ceremony was conducted against a backdrop of silence.

For some reason, though, Cov stick with Billy Bell singing.

We’ve had ‘Abide With Me’ in the past, this time it was ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Now I’ve nothing against Billy, I just don’t think him singing adds anything to the occasion.

I certainly don’t abide with him on this one….

It’s a personal thing but it just comes across as being more about him than it is about remembering the fallen. Silence is far more effective – broken only by the haunting sound of the last post.

One big plus this year. The club have obviously learned from last year when the players jogged off the pitch as the ceremony was taking place, to a background of cheers from the main stand. Having them go off early and then return to line up as part of the Remembrance Service was a much better call.

It was good to see the Coventry Corps of Drummers too – they added some entertainment at half time and got a generous reception from the crowd, Not being local to Cov, I hadn’t come across them before but they are obviously successful at what they do given the coach they arrived at the ground in…

I’m so looking forward to the day Cov travel to away games in a personalised coach…blue and white, not red and green, I hasten to add.

And did anyone else spot the advertising on the main screen? It looks as if the Cov players have been moonlighting, producing adverts presumably for the club sponsors.

I took a few photos as the advert(s) were on a loop –

Sentiki Nayalo looks a natural and, on the basis of what I saw, a call from a Hollywood  agent can’t be too far away…

And the scoreboard…great that we’ve got it and all that, BUT…

…can’t those in the know see that it’s current format doesn’t make for an easy read?

Having the scores each side of the time means that a quick glance up isn’t always enough. The set up last season, with the countdown clock at the bottom of the screen, worked well enough but if this is preferred, for heaven’s sake why not just swap the position of the club badges with the score so that there is a gap between them and the time?

816026 just looks clumsy as it is – but move the badges to the right/left of the 8/6 and it immediately it’s easier to read. Add some colour to the score (as long as it doesn’t clash with the badges (yellow or orange, perhaps) and there’s even more of a contrast.

If it were me alone who had an issue with the current layout, then I wouldn’t go on about it, but everyone sitting near us is of the same opinion.

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Cov were always going to struggle to produce the kind of form that very nearly did for Ealing the week before. Such was the magnitude of that result, expectation yesterday was going to be sky high. In no way am I trying to demean Doncaster, but the fact that it wasn’t, say, Pirates or Newcastle, meant that the quality of opposition just wasn’t there and consequently Cov didn’t have to raise their game above the fairly mundane.

Cov always play better against the top sides and we ended up playing Doncaster at their level, rather than them playing us at ours. That’s not particularly well expressed but hopefully you get the gist.

Cov did enough to nullify any threat that Doncaster might pose and their defence was pretty watertight all afternoon, knocking Donny back at times and forcing them to kick when they couldn’t break our defensive wall.
We too struggled to break down a resolute Doncaster defence, so much so that we too tended to kick deep and play the territorial game in their half wherever possible.

It’s not a tactic that worked particularly well yesterday, but it still worked…

The sponsors awarded the Man of the Match Award to Joe Buckle – he certainly had a decent enough game and perhaps the maiden try he scored helped nudge the sponsors in his direction. Few players stood out in fairness; this was a team performance where there were few notable individual performances.

I haven’t heard anything from the coaches as yet, but I’m assuming that they’ll be happy about the win, but disappointed we couldn’t offer more in attack.

Two tries, of which one was a catch and drive, is well below Cov’s average for a game, especially at home. However, the two other games yesterday were both low scoring (perhaps symptomatic of the poor weather conditions?), with Newcastle only managing to beat Bedford 6-11. Goldington Road is a tough place to play, but they too failed to get a bonus point and I’m sure Cov will have taken note that in their last couple of games the Falcons haven’t been at their fluid best.

A good time to be going up North, maybe?

If you haven’t already voted for your Man of the Match, here’s the link:

Man of the Match v Doncaster Knight

Please do give it a go!

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The Motors went under the radar a little – Airport was a massive hit for them but it was a pretty much their only one unless you actually followed them – Dancing the night Away, Be What You Wanna Be, Forget About You (a classic) and Tenement Steps were all lesser known hits for them.

They were another pub rock band at their best in the late 70s/early ’80s and I was a big fan, as I was of Brinsley Schwartz, Rockpile, Squeeze, The Members and the like.

So you want to believe
Everything that you read…

When it comes to Cov – definitely.

And yes. we really are asking you to reach for the sky because that’s the limit with this squad and set of coaches…

This is a team heading in the right direction.

Come on Cov!

Author: Tim

6 thoughts on “Doncaster – dancing the Knights away…

  1. I would agree Sam…not sure that the club will agree though…seems others do given the comments on here and elsewhere!

  2. Thanks Krys – I’m always very relieved when someone else agrees! The scoreboard is still a bugbear really, it must be able to do far more than it currently is being used for, although I thought the background of the poppies last weekend was a nice touch…

  3. https://coventryrfc.me/2016/03/28/coventry-v-newcastle-nov-2-1996-watch-it-as-the-story-is-retold/
    https://coventryrfc.me/2016/03/29/coventry-v-newcastle-nov-2-1996-watch-it-as-the-story-is-retold-part-2/
    Hi Trev,
    I hadn’t seen the report before…it still makes me shiver with excitement just reading it!
    I’ve included a couple of posts ages ago (years!) that I wrote on the game, including many of the match highlights on video…if you haven’t seen them it’s worth just watching the clips – I wouldn’t bother to read through the posts, though!

  4. Hope you enjoy this old match report.This one heck of a match 2/11/96 this was the nearly season when we could not make promotion,lost to these away heavily later in season then crashed out to London Irish.in play offs…….the start of all the problems financially off the pitch overspending the rest is well written about…………….Harris ends Newcastle’s run
    Coventry 19 Newcastle 18
    JUST AS Newcastle looked as if they would maintain their unbeaten record,
    despite having to overcome the 39th-minute dismissal of winger John Bentley
    for repeatedly punching Andy Smallwood, Jez Harris dropped a marvellous
    goal in the second minute of injury time to deny them.
    Coventry fully deserved their victory, after riding out a storm of
    intimidation, by scoring the only tries in a contest of fiercely sustained
    intensity and high drama, in which the lead changed hands six times,
    before the biggest crowd seen at Coundon Road for over 30 years.
    The opening exchanges were furiously contested. The first blow went to Dean
    Ryan, whose gratuitous dig at Derek Eves handed Coventry three points. They
    were gifted another three when virtually the whole Newcastle team fell
    offside.
    By the time Rob Andrew squared matters with two penalties, Andrew Blyth and
    Bentley were squaring up to Smallwood and referee Nick Cousins was
    struggling to hold the lid down on a potthreatening to boil over.
    A third Andrew penalty put Newcastle ahead, but Coventry replied through
    full-back Wayne Kilford. Newcastle’s insistence on punching their way
    upfield was met by an unyielding Coventry defence.
    By the break, with Coventry two points up, Newcastle had lost Bentley,
    their composure, and effectively the plot. Two more Andrew penalties gave
    Newcastle the upper hand until Smallwood scored seemingly the winning try.
    With the final whistle was imminent, Andrew dropped a goal seemingly sealed
    Coventry’s fate.
    Yet the home forwards were still not done. They drove upfield for Harris to
    put the game beyond Newcastle’s reach.
    Scores: 3-0 Harris pen; 3-3 Andrew pen; 6-3 Harris pen; 6-6 Andrew pen; 6-9
    Andrew pen; 11-9 Kilford try; 11-12 Andrew pen; 11-15 Andrew pen; 16-15
    Smallwood try; 16-18 Andrew drop goal; 19-18 Harris drop goal.
    Coventry: W Kilford; A McAdam, M Gallagher, R Robinson, A Smallwood; J
    Harris, T Dawson; R Hardwick (capt), D Addleton, M Crane, D Grewcock, A
    Blackmore (L Crofts, 56), J Horrobin, D Eves, I Patten.
    Newcastle: T Stimpson; J Bentley, M Tetlow, A Blyth, T Underwood; R Andrew,
    G Armstrong; N Popplewell, R Nesdale, G Graham, G Archer, D Weir, P Walton,
    S O’Neill, D Ryan (capt).
    Attendance: 7,642.
    Referee: N Cousins (London)

    But as we say Tim the club building on great plan to reach premiership…but that was one heck of a game just like yesterday bally freezin! i went to that match can always remember Rob Andrews face his chin was on the ground in disbelief!

  5. I totally agree with you on Billy singing, it also kept the players in the cold and wet for longer and it’s not like he has the voice of an angel. Not great he couldn’t get the names of the people involved in the ceremony right either.
    With you an the scoreboard too, considering we were told it was the latest all singing and dancing product to not clearly be able to see the score not sure it’s the greatest advert for the manufacturers.

  6. Not a classic by any means, Tim, but (as you say) a win is a win. I’m with you about Billy as well. As nice a guy as he is, it might be the year to call time on his singing at such events.

Any thoughts:

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