by John Butler
FIXTURES at any level between Coventry and Saturday’s visitors, Cambridge go back only as far as the 2010-11 season, beginning after Cov’s relegation from the Championship.
There was a three-year break between 2013 and 2016 when Cambridge had a spell back in National Two South, so overall we have met nine times in league games, Cov edging it 5-4 on wins following the 40–7 victory at Volac Park in October.
Cambridge won the first four meetings, twice tasting success at Butts Park, with their last victory in the 2011-12 season since when Cov have been unbeaten.
The Cambridge club was originally founded in 1923, so they are just five years away from celebrating their centenary.
In recent times, Cambridge have set out on a journey aimed at becoming the most renowned community club in the country.
The pending departure of director of rugby Ross Stewart, who took over from Rowland Winter following the latter’s move to Cov, was announced last week. Stewart is standing down at the end of the season due to increased commitments at Northampton Saints Academy and will be replaced by a Welshman, Richie Williams. The new man in charge is currently the Hungary team performance director as well as being coach to England Counties Under-20s.
Having finished last season in 14th place and just escaping relegation, the Blood and Sand, on the back of some fine results of late, are currently lying tenth in the National League One table.
Most recently at Volac Park, they have secured the scalps of both Ampthill and District and Plymouth Albion. Overall, five of their ten wins have been recorded on the road at Fylde, Caldy, Ampthill, Old Albanian and, just before Christmas, Loughborough Students.
Links in personnel between the two clubs have been well catalogued previously, five players initially named in this season’s Cambridge squad having worn the Blue and White jersey previously, and they have now been joined by prop Harry Morley, a regular starter in recent games, who began the season at Butts Park.
A very significant addition this season has been the return in a player-coach role of wily veteran flanker Darren Fox, who by all accounts had a big say in Ampthill’s defeat last Saturday. One recalls his second half appearance against us in October was also rather significant!
Top try scorer for Cambridge is the long-serving Albert Portsmouth with eight, two ahead of Mike Ayrton. One of the former Cov players, Jack Green heads the points scorers with 70.