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John Butler looks ahead to Saturday’s game at Butts Park Arena against Hartpury College.

COVENTRY and visitors Hartpury College meet for only the fifth time on Saturday with the home side trailing 3-1.

Cov won the first clash away from home in the 2014-15 season by a narrow margin of 23-21, and all three of the games since then have also been close affairs. Hartpury’s first visit to Butts Park saw them secure a 22-20 win, and last season both results went against Cov, 23-21 at home in September and 26-17 in the return.

Cov supporters will probably remember our first visit to the College in 2014-15 for the weather……it rained and it rained…. …and it rained. The journey down through the Severn floods was ‘interesting’ and the pitch only just about playable as a result.

Hartpury are the current leaders of the division with a maximum 20 points from their four games. Based north of Gloucester, they have close links with Gloucester Rugby, who also use the impressive facilities at the college as their training base, and also have links with Bristol Rugby.

Their rise through the league ranks has been pretty impressive since their formation only 12 years ago in 2004, and after finishing second in National League One last season behind champions Richmond, they are setting a hot pace this time round under new director of rugby John Barnes, who has taken over from Alan Martinovic, and head coach Mark Cornwell.

On the opening day of the season Blackheath were despatched pretty emphatically, and further big wins have followed over Plymouth Albion, Esher and, last Saturday, Fylde at home when nine tries were run in.

While a significant number of players have been retained from last season, equally the incoming list is also quite lengthy. Mike Wilcox, at full-back, is already well known to Cov supporters from his days with Cinderford; another newcomer is fly-half and goal kicker Adam Hastings, the son of former Scotland full-back and captain and British Lion, Gavin Hastings; and at centre is Luke Eves who played against us last season and is son of Derek, Cob’s rugby director in the mid to late 1990’s. At scrum-half is Gloucester’s Harry Randall, part of the England Under-20 World Championship winning side in June.

Kick-off s 3pm. and post-match entertainment in the clubhouse is by Airbag.