Tue. Apr 13th, 2021

Call out the instigator
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

And you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right
We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together now

Thunderclap Newman – Something In The Air

Thunderclap is spot on.

The revolution is indeed here, and as it happens progressing quite nicely, thank you very much.

Unbeaten in four outings, including two away from home, third in the league and a trip up to Newcastle to play the league leaders this weekend; these are heady days indeed.

No need for Mr Newman to call in the instigators though, they’re well aware of the situation.

This has been over three years in the making.

And it’s a little bit scary to think if Pirates were to lose or draw against Scottish on Friday and Cov had a decent bonus points win, we could be sitting alongside Falcons at the top of the table with almost a third of the games gone.

Scary, but exciting too.

Highly unlikely, of course, but it is a sure indication of just how far Cov have progressed since Rowland Winter first contacted Jon Sharp with his plan to transform Cov back into one of the top sides in the country after an absence of getting on for 40 years.

Unlikely, yes.

But not impossible.

We travel up there expecting to see another Cov performance of which to be proud, knowing that to pick up any points from the game would be a terrific result for a squad that is still very much in its infancy as far as the Championship is concerned.

For those supporters of an age, memories of Coventry’s win against Newcastle back in the November of 1996 come flooding back.

Back then we dared to hope, though.

Hope that at home and in front of over 7500 passionate supporters Cov could do the near impossible – beat a team packed full of international stars, including the likes of Stimpson, Bentley, Underwood, Armstrong, Weir, Archer, Ryan and Andrew.

23 years on, almost to the day, for Rob Andrew, read Toby Flood…

Maybe the rest of the Newcastle team doesn’t trip off the tongue quite as easily as the one back in ’96, but Falcons are as yet unbeaten in any game this season, have the best points difference in the league and have, until Sunday anyway (!), conceded the fewest points.

The visit to Kingston Park is a daunting one, as tough as any Cov have faced in recent times.

But dare to hope?

Well, why not?

They showed against Ealing that they are as combative a side as any in this league and what Cov might be lacking in experience when it comes to taking on what is to all intents and purposes still very much a Premiership outfit, they more than make up for in commitment and self-belief.

Having almost beaten Ealing away a couple of weeks ago, they’ll be looking to go one better on Sunday. And with Newcastle struggling for points in a couple of their most recent games, Cov could certainly cause them a few problems if they can get their hands on some decent possession.

We said exactly the same thing in the week leading up to the Ealing game and low and behold, they did just that. Newcastle will be an even tougher task, but at the moment the more that is asked of this squad the more it delivers.

Away from home, the points haven’t been quite so free flowing for Newcastle but at Kingston, well they’re looking pretty imperious to be fair. But since Anthony Allen came on board , Cov’s defence has looked far more watertight this season and if we can get through the first 20 minutes relatively unscathed, then our fitness and ability to strike from anywhere could make things tough for the home side for the first time this season.

All any Cov fan going up to Newcastle this weekend can realistically hope for is that Cov give a good account of themselves and play with the intensity and passion we know they are capablye of producing – do that, then who knows. Any points from the game would be a bonus, but I don’t believe that Messrs Winter, Walshe and co will be hoping for anything less than a result, such are the standards they are currently setting their players these days.

Many of those who witnessed Hardwick lead his side to that famous victory in 1996 can still reel off the names of the starting XV *(see how many you can recall – the full team is printed at the foot of this section of the post). For Cov supporters, the game has become one of the most talked about in living memory.

A repeat of that result on Sunday, unlikely as it is, would be just as memorable, albeit for different reasons. Despite reaching the Premiership playoffs back in 1996, Coventry were in dire financial straights and a little over a year later most of the players duly went their separate ways.

Today’s team? Well this is just the start for them…big games like this one are going to become the norm before too long as Sharp and Winter look to move Cov ever closer to a place in the Premiership.

Two years ago, the holy grail for Cov was the Championship…now it’s the Premiership.

This has been some journey already.

The Coventry v Newcastle game in 1996 is going to get a fair few mentions over the next week or so. So, if you want to refresh your memory of what took place on the afternoon of November 2nd or weren’t a round then to enjoy it, it might be worth you clicking on the two links below which will direct you to posts specifically detailing the events of that day (including video footage of the key moments of the game, together with commentary from the Supporters’ Club very own Paul Ingleston).

Coventry v Newcastle: Nov 2 1996 – watch it as the story is retold…


Coventry v Newcastle: Nov 2 1996 – watch it as the story is retold (Part 2)

The build up to Sunday’s game has well and truly begun.

Bring it on.

Up the Cov!

* The starting XV against Newcastle back in 1996 was:

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



I’ve updated (or at least Sam has, whoops) The Rugby Paper’s ‘Average Player Ratings‘ to include Round 5 of the Championship – with no ratings available for the Yorkshire Carnegie game as it was on a Sunday, the table includes the ratings from a total of seven games, not eight (Cup games are also included).

Unless The Rugby Paper includes a report the weekend following the Falcons game, it is unlikely there will be player ratings for that game either.

Aware of a bit of  data overkill in the previous Rating’s post, I’ve posted just the two tables this time round:

Table 1 takes into account the average ratings for any players who started a game:

Table 1

Name Avg. Rating Starts
Rory Jennings          7.14          7
Ryan Burrows          7.00          6
Ben Nutley          7.00          1
Joe Buckle          7.00          1
Adam Peters          6.80          5
Luke Wallace          6.80          5
Toby Trinder          6.67          3
Nile Dacres          6.60          5
Jack Ram          6.50          2
Tom Kessell          6.50          6
James Gibbons          6.50          4
Phil Boulton          6.50          2
Max Trimble          6.50          6
James Stokes          6.43          7
Darren Dawiduik          6.40          5
James Voss          6.33          3
Will Maisey          6.33          3
Rob Knox          6.20          5
Gareth Denman          6.20          5
Alex Woolford          6.20          5
Heath Stevens          6.17          6
Andrew Bulumakau          6.00          2
George Oram          6.00          1
Pete White          6.00          1
Junior Bulumakau          6.00          2
Scott Tolmie          6.00          1
Senitiki Nayalo          6.00          2
David Halaifonua          6.00          1
Will Owen          5.67          3

Table 2 takes into account the average ratings for all players who have played this season, including appearances from the bench.

So take Pete White, for example. Pete has only made one start and was awarded a score of 6 by The Rugby Paper, but when you take into account his appearances from off  the bench, he averages a far healthier 6.50 – a far better indication of the impact Pete has had on games, albeit for a shorter period.

Table 2

Total Average of Rating Total Appearances
Rory Jennings                    7.14                          7
Ryan Burrows                    7.00                          6
Joe Buckle                    7.00                          2
Luke Wallace                    6.67                          6
David Halaifonua                    6.50                          2
Pete White                    6.50                          6
Toby Trinder                    6.50                          6
Adam Peters                    6.50                          6
Max Trimble                    6.50                          6
James Stokes                    6.43                          7
Tom Kessell                    6.43                          7
Heath Stevens                    6.43                          7
Jack Ram                    6.33                          6
Darren Dawiduik                    6.33                          6
Nile Dacres                    6.33                          6
James Voss                    6.33                          3
Gareth Denman                    6.29                          7
Phil Boulton                    6.29                          7
Will Maisey                    6.20                          5
Alex Woolford                    6.17                          6
Scott Tolmie                    6.17                          6
Rob Knox                    6.17                          6
Senitiki Nayalo                    6.14                          7
Scott Russell                    6.00                          1
Andrew Bulumakau                    6.00                          2
George Oram                    6.00                          2
Tony Fenner                    6.00                          1
Dan Lewis                    6.00                          1
Ben Nutley                    6.00                          2
Tony Fenner                    6.00                          1
Junior Bulumakau                    6.00                          2
James Gibbons                    5.86                          7
Will Owen                    5.75                          4

So this week, Rory Jennings takes over at the top from Ryan Burrows. Whilst the average ratings might be a rough and ready indication of how players have performed over the course of the season, both Jennings and Burrows have certainly been two of the top players for Cov this season.

How this will pan out over 22 games of the Championship, as well as those in the Cup,  is anyone’s guess, but I’d be surprised if there’s any player with an average score of 7 or over come the end of April. If a player has played half or more of those games that would be some achievement.

With 6 seeming to be the default rating for a win, any losses might quickly impact adversely on the average scores.


Call out the instigator
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

Good to see there was a slight increase in Cov’s attendance on Saturday, although I have to admit I was surprised the gate was over 2300. Another few decent results and a few more heads will turn BPA’s way as interest continues to grow.

And that means more bums on seats.

We’ve got to get together sooner or later…

…this team deserves our support and that of the wider public for what it is doing both on behalf of the local community and for the city of Coventry too.

There’s definitely something in the air around the Butts these days…

Apologies for the quality of the video – it’s an old ‘un!

By Tim

Any thoughts:

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