DEFENCE coach Luke Narraway says it’s time for Coventry to get into winter weather mode as they approach possibly the defining point of their season.
Narraway captained the National Division One leaders to Saturday’s 20-16 success at Old Elthamians, their eleventh straight win of the season, but conceded that they should have coped better with the tricky handling conditions.
The game was played in the dry, but overnight and morning rain had left a greasy surface at Marvels Lane that cut up in some areas and led to a number of errors which, combined with the home side’s tenacity, ultimately saw Cov defending their line for a protracted period of added time to preserve their lead.
And while delighted with the outcome, the No.8 says Cov will need to adapt their game better to the increasingly wintery conditions with games against top sides Plymouth Albion, Ampthill and Darlington Mowden Park to come before a pre-Christmas visit to local rivals Birmingham Moseley.
“It was a real tight game – credit to OEs, they’re really well drilled, their defence was pretty good and they stopped us playing in the greasy conditions,” said Narraway.
“We probably played a little too much rugby and should have kept it tighter, but to find ourselves where we were through those last nine minutes or how many, to show that kind of grit and character for probably 15 phases or so, and to then get the turnover at the end was outstanding.
”Sometimes when you’re not playing at your best you’ve got to go back to the foundations that you’ve built, and that’s the set piece and defence. Our set piece wasn’t the greatest on the day, but our defence closed out the game and I’m really proud of the boys for that.
“But I think the conditions and the way the game was played were probably a sign of things to come with the weather changing.
“We’ve got to get better at playing in those conditions and those kinds of games.
“Our line-out faltered at times, which is an area where we’ve been operating at around 90 per cent which is very good in any league, and with a greasy ball, when tackles come in it’s quite easy to dislodge.
“Sometimes you’re better just playing it tight, and I think in the second half we did that a lot better.
“We’re a side that likes to move the ball, but we’ve gone from playing in weather that’s been on our side for probably a good eight out of our first ten games to a game where it was greasy to handle, and that’s something we’ve got to look at.
“But, again, our defence was fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for any more from the boys. At the end of the day that’s our eleventh game and our eleventh win, and we’ve only dropped two bonus points which is not bad at all.
Added Narraway: “We’re under no illusions how tough the next few weeks are going to be, so we’ll take that, it’s four points won, we’ve got a well-earned rest now for a week and then we’ve got a month towards Christmas where we’ve got to keep raising the bar.”
*Coventry Development went down 38-5 to a more experienced Old Elthamians 2nd XV.
With five front row forwards in their starting pack, Cov contested throughout but had only a Willie Priestley try, from a forwards drive, to show for their efforts.