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Coventry Rugby 26-17 Bedford Blues - A View on the Game


By Mark Forster
September 29 2019

Mark Forster trawled up from Cornwall this weekend, ostensibly to pick up bits and pieces from his old Coventry home, but obviously he was mainly in the midlands for the day's big match, going the extra mile by typing the whole thing on his phone. Kudos. He describes his observations here:

WHEN Muhammad Ali had George Foreman on the ropes in the Jungle Rumble, he could not quite put him away until the second half.

The same could be said for Cov, butchering chances galore against Bedford Blues.
 
This was a first outing for Cov on the artificial surface of Butts Park Arena, but it was problems with hands rather than footing that cost Cov dear. 
Bedford H Cup 280919_01.jpg
 
There was disappointment in my corner of BPA, but I found so many positives. 
 
Cov's back line found their way through Bedford's scrambling defence time after time.
 
Rob Knox, Will Owen, Andy Bulumakau, Max Trimble and James Stokes all made valuable yards and I applauded their approach. When Bulumakau was injured, Heath Stevens gave a masterclass performance at outside centre. 
Bedford H Cup 280919_02.jpg
 
Tom Kessell and Rory Jennings pulled the strings with aplomb and it was frustrating Cov couldn't convert.
 
But fair play to Bedford, conceding three pointers at the expense of seven. They showed a streetwise smartness which meant Sir did not reach into his pocket for a card. 
Get away with what you can. Cov would. So let's not have any meanness of spirit there. 
 
I was a little concerned with some high tackles missed by the officials, especially given the heightened awareness in World Cup month. 
Maybe the Championship didn't get the memo? 
 
But I was heartened to see the attacking spirit of Cov. And it wasn't just the back division. The forwards were imperious in their approach, effort and execution.
I was glad not to see Cov kick the ball away, but sometimes they appeared to over complicate, relying on well drilled training ground moves rather than show an eye for the gap. 
Bedford H Cup 280919_03.jpg
 
Knox, who moved out to the flank following Bulumakau's injury, was a constant danger, looking for mismatches and showing footwork that should have him on the Strictly dance floor rather than BPA green.
 
So we spilled the ball yards out. 
So passes went wrong. 
So we couldn't deliver the coup de gras. 
But better to make mistakes in the opposition 22 than our own. 
Better to screw up a positive and creative opportunity than not create the chance in the first place. 
 
In the 1970s Cov boasted a backline of international players, though they seldom played together. Bill Gittings at 9, Dick Cowman at fly-half, two players to get those outside them on the front foot. 
Peter Preece and Geoff Evans in the centres had a turn of pace and eye for space that could unlock the most miserly defence. Outside them? The fast feet and rugged, tank-like running of Rod Webb and the speed and sidestep of David Duckham, all backed up by Peter Rossborough at full back. And he was no slouch. 
In the 80s I felt we had a three quarters to make those 70s guys proud. Steve Thomas, Mark Lakey, Martin Fairn, Stuart Hall and Eddie Saunders among them. 
Today, for the first time in nearly 40 years I thought the backs division showed such skill and promise as to be the true keepers of the Coventry flame. 
Get the handling errors sorted - easily done - and this should be a rapier like line up to put fear into defences. 
I'm sure lessons have been learned from today. 
 
Performances will only get better. 
 
Jennings showed he was a shrewd bit of recruitment. Owen was barnstorming, and impressed with his support work on and off the ball. 
 
Bedford's never-say-die attitude will serve Cov well. Yes it was a cup game and league conquers all, but it was a great test. 
 
In defence, Cov worked really hard. That pack would arguably stand toe to toe with the best Cov has ever put out. These guys relished tackling and running in defence and attack. 
Yes there were mistakes, including one miscue from an attacking Cov line out, but it was the second match of the season and these things are an occupational hazard. 
 
That the win was comfortable in the end, despite so many unforced errors shows the potential this Cov vintage has. 
 
The second half, Cov's round eight, saw the home side get the recipe spot on. Darren Dawidiuk was on hand to benefit from a powerful maul.
 
Stevens set off on a run that was the stuff of 70s and 80s legends and led to Sentiki Nayalo converting - not a bad start for the sub who had barely had a chance to acclimatise to such fast paced action.
Bedford H Cup 280919_04.jpg
 
Knockout punches either side of jabs, in this case penalty kicks from Jennings and Will Maisey. 
 
I guess the Cov coaches will be demanding more. 
I guess the players themselves will acknowledge it wasn't a perfect performance. 
When they deliver without the mistakes, it's going to be a game for the ages. 
Maybe a season for the ages. 
 
In my rose-tinted vision, the expectation is sky-high. 
 
Scorers:
Tries - Dawidiuk, Nayalo
Cons - Jennings, Maisey
Pens - Jennings (3), Maisey
 
Attendance - 2042
 
Pictures - Nick Meredith

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Coventry Rugby 26-17 Bedford Blues - A View on the Game
Discussion started by Unofficial Coventry Rugby (IP Logged), 29/09/2019 10:38
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
29/09/2019 10:38
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:03:12:46:38 by AdminBTCov.

HoboAl
HoboAl
29/09/2019 14:11
Mark
Nayalo has being showing those sort of barnstorming bursts and the ability to crash over the line in pre season. A big lad, but quick and relishes contact. I expect to see him on the score sheet many times.

I though Burrows brought a lot to the table with his powerful ball carrying and leadership. Some missing ingredients from last season seem to have been found.

I thought Wallace would be bigger? But he can handle himself and a real asset at the breakdown and lineout.

Great to see Niles Dacres back out there for some competitive rugby.

Diesel74
Diesel74
29/09/2019 18:48
You're not wrong, Al.

I know it wasn't a perfect performance by any means - and I wrote that rubbish on my phone! Ouch - but I saw the promise.

As a former fly-half/full back, obviously I might see things in the back division that others might not and there were flashes of brilliance.

I also watched the forwards quite closely - and again, saw huge promise.

This time last season, I was in the crowd at Cornish Pirates and we struggled big-time, although again showing some signs of promise. Then there was Hartpury away.

It's now up to these guys to put things right and demolish the best sides in the league. Some challenges ahead, but plenty to be happy about.

Mark

covkid53
covkid53
29/09/2019 21:09
A lot of the passing and handling errors can be attributed directly to the new surface. Artificial surfaces on running tracks and football pitches, whether they be for rugby or not, generate more knee lift and bounce in the foot. When moving at speed on this surface, in 3g footwear, it is no surprise to me there were lost opportunities. But mark my words, it will improve and when the guys are used to the new dynamic, they will punish opposition defenses ruthlessly. My son is a graduate sports scientist and explained to me there is a significant difference and difficulty when playing on a 3g surface as opposed to grass, including footwear.

It's gonna improve for sure, remember decades ago when Luton town became the first football league club with an artificial surface, they were almost impossible to beat for 2 years at home.

C'mon Cov.

Wrenmore
Leo
30/09/2019 14:57
Great to see the scores coming through on my twitter page. Took much delight in "liking" each one for my Gloucester Cherry & White daughter, (sadly one of my very few "followers" ) to receive.

Well played Cov !

diverkevod
diverkevod
01/10/2019 09:01
Mark, a lovely report and may I say more complete than the club one, and one that Tim Smith would be proud of. You manage to include words that catch the atmosphere from the game, and some interesting feedback feedback from Covkid53 (born in '53 I suspect like me) on the pitch and how it plays.

Like you I have a long journey, from Lancashire in my case for matches, not quite as far as Cornwall I know, so I will struggle to get to the Ealing game. Can anyone say WHY it is at 7:30 on a Friday evening? The Club have not indicated why as far as I can see!

And a little story from the stand. 3 senior guys behind me were convinced Ben Stokes was playing at no. 7 (ie Luke Wallace) and I could not convince them otherwise. It is the hairstyle that confused them, but it gave me and my neighbours in the stand much amusement, as they wondered who was at no. 15.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
01/10/2019 09:58
Mark's a pro journalist of the 'old (I'm sure he'll forgive me) school', and the quality is therefore pretty much guaranteed.
I'm (we're) lucky to have him voluntarily and regularly contribute to this site.

And I assume you mean James Stokes? (Sm14)

diverkevod
diverkevod
01/10/2019 13:53
Yip, James Stokes..... forgive me, Ben Stokes is a name most of us will never forget after this summer and it comes to mind as soon as I think of Stokes.

Can anyone tell me why the Ealing game is on a Friday evening?

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
01/10/2019 14:02
Quote:
diverkevod
Can anyone tell me why the Ealing game is on a Friday evening?
I can't, but it's sure annoying as I probably - almost certainly - won't be able to make it. Another wasted ST 'stub' as it were.

Old Faithful
Old Faithful
05/10/2019 12:36
Quote from last night's programme concerning playing on Friday night:
"......the idea here from the commercial team is that 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 not get to watch us play. With our Under-18s coaches now regularly working with the local clubs, we hope this will give them the opportunity to get closer still."
Virtually no difference in the size of the gate, 2065 last night as against 2042 last Saturday.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
05/10/2019 13:06
That'll be one fewer season ticket sale to a long-term member, at least.
I'll just have to start picking and choosing, and maybe making it to the odd feasible night game. But there won't be many.
Doubt I'm the only one.

titchywinger
titchywinger
05/10/2019 13:15
I can still remember those freezing cold Friday nights a few years ago when Phil Maynard was in charge.Absolutely dismal. I hope we don't go back there. Selfish from me, but I much prefer a Saturday afternoon.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
05/10/2019 14:34
Quote:
titchywinger
I can still remember those freezing cold Friday nights a few years ago when Phil Maynard was in charge.Absolutely dismal. I hope we don't go back there. Selfish from me, but I much prefer a Saturday afternoon.
I was thinking about that too. Awful, and a failed experiment.
I could actually easily attend on a Friday night back then, and remember it with no affection whatsoever.
Maybe selfish here too, but...

diverkevod
diverkevod
05/10/2019 21:12
Well Friday night versus Ealing was a mild night and dry, and as a result a pleasant evening to watch an excellent game, apart from the first 10 minutes! Shame the attendance was no different to a Saturday but I agree you have to try these things. On a much colder, wetter night the attendance could suffer. Stick to Saturdays afternoons at 3:00pm.

BackTenRef?
BackTenRef?
06/10/2019 09:08
Bumped into loads of people who wouldn’t normally make it as would be playing..
Where will they go on Saturday afternoon when they hang up their boots?

A lot is made of attracting the next generation of fans, they’re currently playing on Saturday afternoons.
One or two a year is a good move to me, agree though that regular wouldn’t be welcome

CovBlueLou
CovBlueLou
06/10/2019 13:06
Quote:
BackTenRef?
Bumped into loads of people who wouldn’t normally make it as would be playing..
Where will they go on Saturday afternoon when they hang up their boots?

A lot is made of attracting the next generation of fans, they’re currently playing on Saturday afternoons.
One or two a year is a good move to me, agree though that regular wouldn’t be welcome

Agree not sure Friday night mid November is a good idea but I enjoyed the other night, maybe one of the last 2 or 3 game end of March/April time as well on a Friday would get a thumbs up from me!

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
06/10/2019 14:31
I'm assuming visiting clubs have a say in all this? Not all clubs will wish to subject their travelling support to Friday evening post-work travel.
Probably hardly affected Ealing, admittedly, unless they have a disproportionately high percentage of travellers, but I didn't notice many at the last Saturday game against them.

MESSAGES->author
OldNick
06/10/2019 18:04
No Admin, not at this level. The Championship regulations allow the home club to decide within a limited set of times over the weekend.
NL1 on the other hand is not assumed to be professional.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
06/10/2019 21:06
You live and learn.
It seems unfair (to me) that e.g. Newcastle could arbitrarily decide to play on Friday nights against clubs in the southern half of the country.
C'est la vie though, I guess.

MESSAGES->author
OldNick
07/10/2019 08:16
Or Pirates on a Sunday?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:07:08:17:23 by OldNick.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
07/10/2019 09:19
I wasn't going there. I made my thoughts clear on that one years ago. Haven't been there since.

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