Never felt the need to have a hand to hold
In everything I do I take complete control
That’s where I’m coming from
My lucky number’s one
I’ve everything I need to keep me satisfied
There’s nothing you can do to make me change my mind
I’m having so much fun
My lucky number’s one
Lene Lovich – Luck Number
Travelling up on the Supporters’ coach to Doncaster 12 days ago, we all knew it would be Cov’s final game of the 2019/20 season – indeed, many of us were surprised that the game was going ahead in the light of other sporting postponements/cancellations earlier in the week.
Just 12 days yet it seems so, so much longer.
Since then, such has been the enormity of the events that have so dominated our lives, there has been little time, or inclination even, to discuss anything rugby-related.
And when conversations have taken place, they have been all too depressing, with very real fears expressed about the impact of COVID-19 on clubs up and down the country, coming as they do so soon after the RFU’s announcement of swingeing cuts to budgets. There appears a strong likelihood that some clubs might struggle to keep their financial heads above water not just over the next few weeks but in the longer term as well.
It’s all rather depressing.
So to get away from all the doom and gloom for a few minutes, I thought I’d tie up a few more loose ends on the Cov Rugby front, most notably the player ratings that have been a regular feature in posts this season.
If you have read the blog with any regularity over the last few months, you’ll be aware that Sam (my son) has been collating The Rugby Paper’s player ratings for all Cov’s competitive games this season – that’s those in the Championship and Championship Cup.
Of the 22 games Cov played, The Rugby Paper allocated ratings for 19 of them. If a game wasn’t included in the Sunday publication that weekend then ratings didn’t appear, so they aren’t available for the cup game against the Pirates, and the Sunday games against Falcons and Yorkshire Carnegie.
19 sets of ratings in all then. Each player was scored a mark out of 10, with a 6 being the go-to score for what was deemed to be an ‘average’ sort of performance.
I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea and are pretty subjective things on the whole, but I’m always interested to see how others see the games I’ve watched, particularly seasoned journalists who have a far greater understanding of rugby than I do.
The player ratings are really just an extension of the Greene King Man of the Match awards that are announced by the home side every game, although probably a little more reasoned for the most part.
Sam has kindly input the weekly results from The Rugby Paper into a spreadsheet so that it’s possible to see player form, in very general terms, over the course of the season.
Now I accept this is no more than an overview of the season as a whole, taking what The Rugby Paper has produced every week and producing cumulative scores as the Championship unfolds.
But it is of interest, at least I have found it so, and as always I am very grateful to Sam for his involvement in this.
And so to the results…
I’ve split the individual player ratings into two tables, one for those who have played 10 plus games and one for those who have played fewer than 10, otherwise results are skewed in favour of those who appeared a couple of times in Cov wins and as a result had a somewhat inflated final rating.
So the key table first then:
No surprises really, with Rory Jennings and Ryan Burrows leading the ratings – they have been two of the most consistent performers all season.
To be honest, whilst I wasn’t surprised by the result, I was a little taken aback by the number of votes Ryan Burrows received in the blog’s ‘Player of the Season’ poll, given just what a good season RJ has had.
I do think, though, that part of this is down to the ‘Will Maisey factor’.Will remains a favourite with many supporters and as a result I do think Rory’s popularity isn’t as great as it might otherwise have been had Will not been around this season. That said, the table shows that even taking Jennings out of the equation, Will had a pretty decent season himself.
In fairness, Will has been a great servant to Cov and he’ll be greatly missed, but I’m not sure he offered as much to the team when starting as Rory does, even though he won several memorably games with his ice-cool kicking, especially in the last couple of seasons in National One.
I’ll miss him, for sure, and he always seemed a really genuine bloke…but it is time to move on now and an opportunity to start regularly at 10 elsewhere seems the wisest choice. I don’t follow many players outside of Cov, but Will is one I’ll be watching with real interest.
Playing second fiddle to Rory isn’t perhaps what he needs at this time in his career.
Rory Jennings has had a strong season and I’m indebted to him for allowing me to include his ‘best bits’ clips in this post. That cross kick for David Halaifonua to snatch a last minute try against Ealing is of course a standout moment (which Will Maisey converted from the touchline) – as are many other memorable moments. However, for all his attacking play, it’s the defensive displays that standout for me.
He’s not the biggest of blokes but he tackles hard and rarely does he fail to stop his man.
(Just as a footnote, it’s interesting to see that five back rowers appear in the top 9, indicative maybe of just how important they’ve been to the success of the team this season).
Below are the ratings for those who appeared in fewer than 10 games:
Perhaps the most encouraging thing to come out of this table is the likes of Louis Brown, Will Flinn, Luc Jeannot and Dan Lewis all feature strongly – young players whom we will doubtless see more of in the future, together with players for whom injury meant their seasons were very much curtailed – the likes of Tony Fenner and the Bulumakaus – a reminder that Rowland Winter was seldom able to pick from a full squad.
Put the two tables together and this is how it looks….
Finally, Sam has kindly produced a table to show the match day squads for each game, together with the times of replacements (against from TRP)…
It looks something like this but as I can’t seem to get WordPress to import it without shrinking to almost microscopic proportions, if you click on the link below it, it should open it in a spreadsheet so that it can be read comfortably…
It might prove to be a useful reference tool for anyone wishing to check up on games earlier in the season.
Once again, many thanks to Sam for all his efforts, as well as putting up with me during countless circuits of the BPA and other Championship grounds.
Tolerance and patience are characteristics he possesses in abundance.
Stay safe, all.
For Rory Jennings, well his lucky number is definitely Number One.
Lene Lovich was another product of Stiff Records and was part of the ‘Be Stiff’ Tour with the likes of Wreckless Eric (who has already made a guest appearance on here) and, of all people, Rachel Sweet.
Not quite the line up of the original Live Stiffs (with Costello obvs, Ian Dury and Nick Lowe) or the Son of Stiff Tour (with Tenpole Tudor, the hugely underrated Any Trouble and The Equators but great fun nevertheless.
Not sure she had another hit of any sort but I saw her live and it was a memorable night, but for reasons not entirely pertinent to the blog…