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Coventry paid the penalty for not taking their chances as they slipped to a first ever defeat at the hands of Caldy.

When they were leading by ten points at the end of the third quarter the blue-and-whites seemed likely to go on to a comfortable win.

However, the concession of a string of penalties then allowed the dogged hosts to build pressure inside the visitors’ half from where they repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of a driving lineout from which replacement hooker Matt Gallagher claimed two of his three tries.

In truth Cov should have been out of sight by this point, but twice missed golden opportunities to add to the trio of first-half scores claimed by forwards Obi Nkwocha, Jordon Poole and Rhys Anstey.

And as a result Alex Rae’s team were left with only a losing bonus point to show for their efforts while Caldy ended their winless run against Cov at the sixth attempt.

Cov once again got off to a fast start in gusty, damp conditions on a sloping pitch and it was the impressive Nkwocha – enjoying a rare outing in the back row rather than at lock – who broke a tackle then stepped his way over from just outside the home 22 to open their account.

The visitors continued to threaten and although Caldy thwarted one Cov lineout drive the blue-and-whites made no mistake with their second attempt from which skipper Poole claimed his sixth try of the season.

Pat Pellegrini’s fine conversion put Cov 12 points to the good as the contest entered the second quarter only for the hosts to strike back through centre Connor Wilkinson.

The midfielder seemed to be going nowhere when he received slow ball in front of Cov’s posts, but his angled run broke a couple of tackles to take him to the line.

Home joy was short-lived however as the visitors stretched their advantage to 14 points through a well-constructed try in which several forwards carried hard before Anstey eventually managed to cross the whitewash.

Caldy’s attacking threat when the teams met at the Butts Park Arena in October had largely come from their well-organised driving lineout and once again this was the main area of defensive concern for Cov.

It therefore came as little surprise when Gallagher was shunted over from close range for his first score shortly before half-time.

Replacement fly half Louis Baker tagged on the extras to leave Cov, who were turning to play with the assistance of the wind, with a 12-19 interval advantage.

Obi Nkwocha scores Cov’s opening try (pic: John Coles)

The visitors spurned a golden opportunity to extend this when their support was unable to connect with Jimmy Martin after the winger broke through a pack of defenders and burst 50 metres into the Caldy 22.

And after Pellegrini kicked a simple penalty, Cov soon declined a second kick at goal in favour of a lineout from which the hosts promptly forced a turnover.

A brilliant piece of swift passing on halfway then released Pellegrini into the home 22 only for his scoring pass to be knocked on with the line gaping.

This sequence of missed opportunities enabled Caldy to stay in the contest and when they then took play into Cov territory Gallagher wriggled over for a score which Baker improved.

Scenting opportunity, Caldy piled pressure on the visitors and when they won three consecutive penalties inevitably play was sent to the corner from where their replacement hooker was driven over to complete his hat-trick.

Baker’s fine conversion meant Cov had eight minutes in which to find a try but despite making their way into Caldy territory the blue-and-whites again infringed on the ground before referee Maxwell-Keys’ final whistle triggered home jubilation.



Tries: Wilkinson (26), Gallagher (39) (62) (72)

Cons: Barker (39) (62) (72)


Coventry Rugby:

Tries: Nkwocha (5), Poole (20), Anstey (35)

Cons: Pellegrini (20) (35)

Pens: Pellegrini (45)


Caldy: Kilcourse; Royle, Wilkinson, Barlow, Beer; Hayes, Pilgrim; Aigbokhae, Hearn, Sproston; Atkinson, Sanders; Gerrard, Booth, Dickinson

Replacements: Gallagher, N.Rushton, Weatherby, Olyott, C.Rushton,  Murray, Cartmill, Barker

Coventry Rugby: Wilson; Opoku, Wand, Titherington, Martin; Pellegrini, Lane; Chilvers, Poole, Nicol; Tyas, Anstey; Nkwocha, Ryan, Nayalo.

Replacements: Biggs, Nairau, Salt, Bartlett, Kvesic, Ogden, Mitchell, Ball

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

Half-time: Caldy 12-19 Coventry Rugby