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Look. No Mud!


By AdminBTCov
November 10 2019

ONE OF THE things that always, always mark out a sopping wet weekend at the Butts is the sight of forty-odd souls traipsing off the pitch after a mud-fest.

But not now.

There may have been a little rubber crumb hiding in boots and, ahem, athletic supports, but mud? Hah!

The summer installation of an artificial grass pitch at Coventry RFC's home could well turn out to be the shrewdest investment yet.

No, I'll go out on a limb and say it definitely is the best investment ever.

When you turn what is effectively a one-day-a-week ground into a facility that can be (and probably already is) in use seven days per, then you've really changed the game.

Training ground? A non-essential luxury. The team can now train on the match pitch whenever they want to (notwithstanding scheduling other lucrative rental uses around sessions). Other local clubs might be very pleased to have that capability, rather than having to tour the county for years looking for suitable locations.

Forward thinking? You bet.

Cov vsDonny Armistice 091119_560.jpg

I noticed, on the way across the car park, a sign on the fence advertising 6-a-side football leagues playing two days a week. Of course, Coventry United have made the place their home for an extended period, and that means regular games for most of the year for both mens' and ladies' teams (if not more).

American football is in the mix. Coventry Bears will, I believe, return to the BPA next season.

Who knows what else could be brought in? We've had Gaelic Footy before, so that's a potential incomer. Kabbadi anyone?

The sky is the limit really – as long as Eric's happy band can cope with all the additional preparation, which is no doubt substantial.

That's all to the good, and to be encouraged and praised.

However, there are still grumbles to be heard around the ground, and as a professional club with what is almost certainly a very bright future, they need to be listened to, and acted upon.

I overheard a conversation yesterday where a rather disgruntled young man was upset that he had been let down (again!) with his order by the club shop. Now, that particular gripe is unlikely to be something that can be laid directly at the club's door, but it probably can be pointed fair and square at the club's suppliers. And that's something that the club really needs to get a grip of. The club, after all, select its suppliers.

Doncaster_h_091119_01_560.jpg

(pic: Nick Meredith)

Another ongoing annoyance, mainly for those who partake, is the poor performance of the alcohol distribution points around the ground. I don't indulge, myself, so you'd think it wouldn't affect the likes of me. But, the knock-on does affect others indirectly. It may seem a bit unwarranted, but personally I find it slightly annoying to be constantly interrupted, while trying to watch the game, by ale-toting folk trying to get to their seat after, presumably, waiting too long to be served at half time.

That's not to mention the time half a pint of lager was conjoined with my shirt front and trousers during one such manoeuvre...

Could do better Cov.

Your customers expect, and deserve, better.

Getting back to positives though, on the subject of 'customers' I was quite surprised and delighted by JB's announcement that the crowd figure was a season-high, with 2386 hardy souls braving the expected horrible weather. That says something about the club's loyal, and growing-again fan base.

Doncaster_h_091119_02_560.jpg

(pic: Nick Meredith)

I've no idea (as I write) how many Bedford – the other well-supported Championship side (discounting our temporary hawkish visitors from rarified circles) - drew in yesterday, but as they were playing the aforementioned visitors I can only imagine curiosity alone would have added quite a number to their usual healthy total. Their support figures are consistently excellent, and provide a handy target for the club to attempt to overhaul. This season? Maybe.

Getting onto the match, I'll refrain from too much comment as much of what I had intended to say here has already been covered on the forum.

I will mention though, that I was a little taken aback by the choice of Man of the Match (no disrespect to Joe, who had an excellent, and much longer than expected, game). By the time of the announcement I'd decided that James Voss had done more than enough by then to warrant that accolade, not least for his game-changing hit on an opposition runner in midfield. I'm sure the old Cowshed would have rained rust in the aftershock of that one.

Doncaster_h_091119_03_560.jpg

(pic: John Coles)

Donny had huffed and puffed fairly ineffectively up to that point, while restricting Cov to one try, it must be said (as much down to inaccuracy on the home side's part it must be said) and really never looked like scoring, unless you count two long range penalties from the big boot of Sam Olver. That tackle seemed to almost signal the end for them. Maybe that was just my perception, but it did seem that the visitors stepped back slightly after that.

Whatever, their fate was then effectively sealed by the most audacious dink over the top of the last Donny defender's desperate finger-tip stretch for an onrushing Max Trimble to gleefully run onto, gather the favourable bounce, and stride over untouched for Cov's second score.

Another game-changer, and game over, effectively.

Five points would have been nice. Four will do nicely.

On to Newcastle.

Cov Scorers

Tries: Buckle, Trimble

Pens: Maisey, Jennings

Con: Jennings

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Look. No Mud!
Discussion started by Unofficial Coventry Rugby (IP Logged), 10/11/2019 12:18
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
10/11/2019 12:18
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:11:17:15:37:52 by AdminBTCov.

Nige H
Nige H
10/11/2019 16:35
You mentioned about long queues for drinks at half time.. we also heard that.. and it seems to be an ongoing issue
I went to the theatre last night and like all theatres they took pre paid, pre poured orders for drinks which are ready and waiting for people when they head into the bar at half time! This practice has been going on in theatres for years, so Iím wondering if something similar can be trialed at the rugby club.??
Just thought In an attempt to help with queues..😊
Nigel

Sam Skennel
Egg Timer
10/11/2019 19:26
The bar has repeatedly been flagged to the club as an issue at half time and immediately post match. I just wonder when they'll finally see that people are taking their money up the road instead of spending it over the bar at the club.

HoboAl
HoboAl
10/11/2019 22:08
Quote:
Nige H
You mentioned about long queues for drinks at half time.. we also heard that.. and it seems to be an ongoing issue
I went to the theatre last night and like all theatres they took pre paid, pre poured orders for drinks which are ready and waiting for people when they head into the bar at half time! This practice has been going on in theatres for years, so Iím wondering if something similar can be trialed at the rugby club.??
Just thought In an attempt to help with queues..😊
Nigel

Which theatre did you go to where the attendance is 2,300 ???

MESSAGES->author
OldNick
11/11/2019 02:17
London Palladium 2286.
Many concert halls.
The fundamental difference is that they have shows every day and hence have regular staff, instead of major matches every fortnight.

Diesel74
Diesel74
11/11/2019 07:54
While things are looking good on the playing side, there are many issues 'behind the scenes' that need addressing.
The bar service is one.
I can't recall that many problems at Coundon Road, for example. But then I'm guilty of being called a 'fuddy duddy' or living in the past.
The online shop on the club website still goes through to a defunct O'Neills page - in November? Really?
The match day Twitter feed is poor for those of us unable to get to games.
The Skins offer thus far is poor.
All Cov have to do is look to other clubs in the division, and I don't mean Newcastle, to look at benchmarks.
The bar issue has been a regular moan since I came back to Cov in 2012. Even with crowds just over 1,000 it was problematic.
But, consider the people working the bar and be nice. They don't want to provide a poor service anymore than anyone wanting a beer or coke wants a poor service.
Mark

covkid53
covkid53
11/11/2019 08:59
The Butts park layout isn't ideal for getting a drink from the bar, it being in the corner where players go to and from the changing rooms at the same time, causes a log jam. Theatres tend to have multiple exits at the back of the auditorium, making bar access easier. Perhaps it's time to have some canned beer/ pop outlets at various points around the BPA, even at the back of the main stand. Cans would allow for a much quicker throughput and safer regards spilling said drinks on fellow seated fans (recyclable too). Not everyone likes canned beer, so those wanting the bar experience will just have to wait in the queue. It is a "nice" problem to have given the crowds are creeping steadily in an upward incline.

The pitch situation needs to be carefully managed too, the artificial surface is not indestructible and is subject to wear an tear, so overuse may be an issue down the line.

Rob C
Rob C
11/11/2019 10:31
Quote:
Diesel74
While things are looking good on the playing side, there are many issues 'behind the scenes' that need addressing.
The bar service is one.
I can't recall that many problems at Coundon Road, for example. But then I'm guilty of being called a 'fuddy duddy' or living in the past.
Mark

The bar service at Coundon Road was, for the most part, pretty poor as well - particularly the post match queues.

The main issue even back then was a lack of experienced bar staff. I remember on one occasion there were huge queues and too few bar staff and my friend's girlfriend, who worked at a pub, volunteered to help and soon worked through the queue.

I'm afraid I've stopped drinking at the club and all the Doncaster supporters headed straight from the coach to the Broomfield on Saturday.

MESSAGES->author
OldNick
11/11/2019 10:40
I quite agree about the bars at Coundon Road Rob. I used to wander into the back room (Pemberton Room?) to try to avoid the queue, or more often over to The Coundon first, and then back to the clubhouse to pick up the Pink..

Fundamentally the bars wonít change until there is a second building on the far side and then the complaints will be about the lack of atmosphere. The club is trying things, and this year has made a significant change by moving lunches out to the marquee, and by doing this increased the ground floor counter capacity by 50%.

Chris Wearmouth
Chris Wearmouth
11/11/2019 11:03
Thanks for the comments.

Bars - this is a comment that has been at every club that I've worked at, and indeed many (far too many!) years ago when I was in the hospitality industry, mixing drinks in a number of cities (including working in the West End with a very experienced crack team of bartenders). Whenever you have a bar that goes from empty to full in the space of a couple of minutes you're going to get queues, and our staff work as quickly as they can to serve them. What we do have here is SwipeStation, through which you can pre-order your drinks and collect them from a dedicated lane. The info is in the match programme. There are a number of bars in the stadium in a variety of locations, but if attendances grow then we'll look to increase provision accordingly.

Merchandise - again, we appreciate the gripes, and it shows how far we've come quickly that your expectations are high. Quite a few of the clubs in this division who are a similar size as us have been dealing with the same kit supplier for a number of years - Pirates with Samurai, Bedford with Zoo, etc - whereas we are still early in our journey in this regard. We are working on this, I promise, and you'll hopefully see some developments soon. The link will be gone from the website soon, too.

John Butler
John Butler
11/11/2019 12:15
To pick up a point made near the beginning of this thread, Bedford's crowd v Newcastle on Saturday was reported to be circa 2,700.
They are generally a few hundred more than Cov over the season, judging by last year.

CharlieBravo
Cliff Bennett
11/11/2019 14:08
Your response is most welcome Chris, as ever, and thank you.
Iíve thought long and hard about whether I dare raise the question as to Billy Bell. Tim made a couple of very trite observations in his blog after the game and I have to say I agree. I find his contributions with the roving microphone out on the field to be embarrassing, whether it be singing (unnecessary and inappropriate in my opinion), mis-pronouncing playersí names (laughably inept), trying to be humorous and displaying bonhomie (I believe the club should be represented by someone who displays a little more professionalism, credibility and gravitas), forever asking the crowd to ďput your hands togetherĒ for whoever (weíve already and inevitably just spontaneously done so), etc, etc.
I donít know Billy and have nothing against him on a personal level, but I do feel the club could be much better represented and therefore given a much higher standard of professional publicity.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
11/11/2019 14:52
Quote:
John Butler
To pick up a point made near the beginning of this thread, Bedford's crowd v Newcastle on Saturday was reported to be circa 2,700.
They are generally a few hundred more than Cov over the season, judging by last year.
Notall that many more then, considering it was Newky. I expected it to be over 3000.

EdGray
EdGray
11/11/2019 15:09
It's good to see the new pitch getting the thumbs up. There were a lot of supporters not sure it was a good decision but greater use, bigger crowds, more money coming in to Cov RFC as well as the ability for the team to train on the pitch they play on. All sounds very positive.

On the question of how long the pitch will last that's a toughie. Saracens had to replace the top layer after 3 seasons. Maidenhead in Level 5 have been playing on one for 7 years.

I was at Rosslyn Pk watching Chinnor draw 27-27 on Saturday and their artificial pitch is 5 years old. General estimate for non Premier clubs is around 8-10 years before the top level needs a complete overhaul. As with all pitches it's the usage plus the quality of regular maintenance that will decide the lifetime of the surface.

Great to hear Coventry doing well this season.

covmick1/Michael Carter
covmick1/Michael Carter
11/11/2019 16:41
I have heard and read the comment about the water draining from the pitch. When it freezes this will cause a problem. if it runs into the road, along the way somewhere it will puddle causing ice. A danger to transport entering the car park, not forgetting people on foot. Games have been called off at venues' around the country because of problems like this in association football and other sports.

covmick/Michael Carter

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
11/11/2019 16:58
Three pics added, courtesy Nick Meredith and John Coles.

MESSAGES->author
OldNick
11/11/2019 17:40
According to Bablake weather station, 49.6mm of rain fell last week. I.e. almost two inches. That was the wettest week 45 for 41 years.

The pitch drainage worked fine as far as the existing storm water sewer box in the car park, which did not cope with the flow and flooded into the car park.

Had it been freezing, 2Ē of rain would instead have been about 20Ē of snow, and whether the drains could have coped would have been irrelevant - the match would not have taken place.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:11:11:20:09:15 by OldNick.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
11/11/2019 17:49
Quote:
Rob C

The bar service at Coundon Road was, for the most part, pretty poor as well - particularly the post match queues.


And then, when you finally got to the front, you had to deal with Sir Stan (Sm14)

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
11/11/2019 17:53
Match highlights on YouTube:
HERE

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
11/11/2019 17:59
And just to reinforce what's been said about the pitch utilization:

(copied from the club's Facebook feed)

Why we love our pitch so much - here's what's happening at Butts Park this week!

- Coventry Rugby training ahead of the trip to Newcastle
- Charity football match between Coventry United and a Coventry City Legends XI on Wednesday evening (KO 7:30pm)
- The city's biggest schools rugby match between King Henry VIII and Bablake on Friday night (KO 7pm)
- Coventry Utd Men v Gresley next Saturday (KO 2pm)
- Coventry Utd Ladies v Aston Villa next Sunday (KO 2pm)
- Our first evening of Soccer Sixes
- A variety of local club training sessions

And even with the rain the green is pristine! Book your city centre sporting session now!

emartin@coventryrugby.co.uk
02476 231001 (9am-5pm)


Impressive.

MDCS
MDCS
13/11/2019 08:36
As the only person at the bar recently it was frustrating to wait over five minutes to be served three quarters of a pint of Purity Ubu. I did not ask for a top up. I didnít want to wait a further five minutes. My four fellow long standing season ticket holders and I now meet at The Hearsall. Have two or three pints each before the game. We would prefer this time to be at BPA. Unfortunately our feet have voted otherwise.
Smoking! Why not go the whole hog and make the whole site a non smoking venue. Allowing people to smoke behind the Goalposts creates an unpleasant area for those walking past. Most arenas are non smoking throughout. Maybe it is time to follow suit

My next observation will not be popular. Last Saturday was not Remembrance Sunday. So why did we have a prolonged service.? Why did Billy Bell sing Weíll Never Walk Alone? Why were the players of both teams standing still for fifteen minutes before the game dressed only in their playing kit whilst everybody else wore overcoats and scarves in very cold wet weather? Why were the fallen referred to by their initials and surnames. Or do we not know their Christian names? Sometimes less is more. A silence will do very nicely.

I have mentioned Billy Bell. I am not a fan. Nor do I know one.

The team are doing well. I have no gripes there. Well done to Rowland Winter, the coaching and back room staff and especially the players.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:11:13:08:45:28 by MDCS.

Moosemagic
Moosemagic
13/11/2019 16:33
Quote:
Chris Wearmouth
Thanks for the comments.
What we do have here is SwipeStation, through which you can pre-order your drinks and collect them from a dedicated lane. The info is in the match programme. .

Chris

I think the bar service is improving gradually and i agree there is always going to be that surge, but this can be mitigated if there is some form of control and management.
The swipe station is a very good initiative and is used by me and the group i attend with and can work very well, i think where the annoyance of a lot of people comes in, is when for example, last Saturday, Sir indicates the end of the game, we troop off into the bar and there are very few bar staff waiting, is there no one there to give them the "ready steady go" signal? me, having used the swipe station before the game had started, walked straight to the head of the "fast lane" to find no one waiting and i stood there for a full 5 minutes before any one took my pre order ticket? This should not be happening!
Hence the queues build up and people get frustrated because these things are in the Clubs control!

Phil Reynolds

Chris Wearmouth
Chris Wearmouth
13/11/2019 17:17
Thanks for the bar comments and suggestions, which I will pass on.

Nige H
Nige H
14/11/2019 09:16
Hi Chris..
Iíve been meaning to say thanks for taking onboard my feedback regarding the advertised ticket price being £20 at the start of the season, as I noticed it was changed to £21 shortly after.
Thanks
Nigel

Chris Wearmouth
Chris Wearmouth
14/11/2019 16:08
Quote:
Nige H
Hi Chris..
Iíve been meaning to say thanks for taking onboard my feedback regarding the advertised ticket price being £20 at the start of the season, as I noticed it was changed to £21 shortly after.
Thanks
Nigel

Thanks for the comment Nigel!

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