First Team Sub
Apr 16, 2011, 8:51 PM
Saturday, 16th April 2011
Re: [The Moose] Where are you going - where did you go? RUGBY UNION
Midlands 2 West South
Earlsdon RFC 35 Old Coventrians RFC 13
Admission – free, programme – no sign of anything. Some clubs at this level do issue.
Refreshments – ½ Strongbow and crisps in the bar £1.85. There are kitchen facilities and a serving hatch, but nobody was serving.
Attendance – 122 by h/c, no doubt includes substitutes and WAGs
Ground – Mitchell Avenue, Canley, Coventry. The ground borders the University of Warwick athletics complex to the east, and is adjacent to Cov-Tech RFC’s ground, who play in Midlands 5 West South. The division between the two rugby club premises isn’t clear, if indeed there is one. There would appear to be four full size pitches overall, two of which are first team pitches for the two clubs, and plenty of mini-rugby and a soccer pitch on the site. Parking at the Earlsdon end for at least 100 vehicles. One of the training pitches was, I think, floodlit.
The rather impressive looking block club-house turned out to be a bit dingy. Changing rooms at lower level, while you ascend a stair-well to find the smallish bar on the top storey. There was TV commentary via loudspeakers but no discernable wide-screen, which was a bit disconcerting; however I eventually noticed a small portable behind the bar ! The usual honours board, team photos, signed England shirt (Neil Back, Leicester and British Lions, apparently played for the club), pennants and trophy cabinet, and at least three “kitchen / bar rotas” on various noticeboards. I gleaned that the club was founded in 1905 and the current clubhouse opened in 1988. The bar does open up onto a wide balcony which gave an unrivalled view of the first team pitch, although, as it was positioned well behind and slightly to one side of the goal-line, I opted to watch the match from the sidelines.
The pitch was railed on both sides, and there was no cover or stand or anything, just a wooden bench dedicated to a former player, Lee “Mad Pup” Rourke.
Match – I gather two teams go down from this division. With Earlsdon already relegated and this their last match of the season, they were playing only for pride, and the opportunity to keep local rivals Old Coventrians – one place off bottom – deeply in the mire! The away side needed a win, didn’t get it, and are also now relegated.
It was, in its way, quite a decent match, and a fairly tense affair up until the 61st minute when with the score poised at 13-8, Earlsdon rattled in two quick converted tries which more or less settled matters. Throughout the first half, Earlsdon had the territory and the possession, but couldn’t turn pressure into points. Old Coventrians, for their part, failed to make use of two periods when Earlsdon men were sin-binned. In fact OC had taken the lead after 24m with an unconverted try in the right corner, but Earlsdon then got points on the board with a penalty and converted try of their own to make it 10-5 at the interval.
The Earlsdon fly-half added a second penalty on 43m and hit a post with an impressive long range attempt on 58m, but the two converted tries then eased the tension and they cantered home in the last quarter.
Interestingly, we had “appointed” rather than “club” linesmen today which was somewhat unusual at this level, and I’m not sure if that was as a result of (a) what was riding on this match (b) the fact that OC had a recent game abandoned due to ill-discipline that’s apparently costing them a 15 point deduction next season or (c) some other reason. I was also aware of a fair bit of “back-chat” between certain of the coaching staff and the officials, again something in my experience a little unusual in this code. Learning from their round-ball compatriots, possibly?
(This post was edited by Ostrich on Apr 16, 2011, 8:52 PM)