COVENTRY enter the unknown at Butts Park Arena on Saturday with the club’s first-ever meeting at any level against Caldy, who won promotion to National League One at the end of last season.
Supporters with long memories will be able to recall that for many year, Cov had a regular fixture in the days before leagues with Birkenhead Park who also hail from the Wirral. Park have since slipped down the league system, with Caldy at the same time climbing to become the senior side from that area of the north-west.
There is no evidence of any previous meeting between the two clubs, although it is certainly not Caldy’s first visit to the city. In October 2008 they played at Earlsdon in the EDF National Trophy, winning 45-10 with Sam Dickinson – later to make a name for himself at Northampton Saints – playing a prominent role.
Runners-up to Nuneaton that season in National Division Three North but with only one side promoted as the leagues underwent a reshuffle, Caldy came up against both Broadstreet and Rugby Lions the following season in what was now National Two North and remained in the fourth tier until winning promotion last season when Broadstreet were again among their opponents.
It all began really for Caldy in 1924 when a group from Calday School, encouraged by their headmaster, decided they wanted to play on under the name of Old Caldeians.
Considerable acres of land were later bequeathed by an old boy of the school on the understanding it be made available to the rugby club, and in 1928 full possession of Paton Field was completed and remains the Caldy club headquarters.
A considerable history has been built up in the intervening years as the club moved up through the Northern leagues to their current position. Four senior sides plus senior colts are run, together with junior colts and a large mini junior section from under-6s upwards.
Caldy have been battling hard and are currently 13th in the division with two wins from nine, those coming early on against Fylde at home and Loughborough Students away. They have lost their last five games, most recently last Saturday at home to Ampthill.
Director of rugby at Paton Field is Gareth Davies and the head coach is Simon Verbickas who in his playing days was certainly a regular opponent of Cov.
There are a number of other familiar names to Coventry followers. Amongst those listed in the Caldy squad are James Otutaha, our former centre who more recently was at Stourbridge, and lock Louis McGowan, neither of whom however have featured recently. Winger Nick Royle regularly opposed us during his Fylde playing days.
Top points scorers for Caldy to date are scrum-half Ben Jones with 60, but not in the side recently and centre Gavin Roberts on 51. Jones has four tries to his name along with flanker J J Dickinson, and Roberts three.