Coventry took on Nottingham in our final home game of the season, played out in front of a bumper Butts Park crowd.
The game got off to a fast-paced start, with Cov going close inside the opening 2 minutes, denied only by a knock-on just short of the line. It would be our visitors who would strike first however, with Charlie Thacker running over after a Nottingham lineout in the Coventry 22m zone. Morgan Bunting pushed his kick wide from the tee, so the score remained 0-5.
It would not take Alex Rae’s men long to respond though. Just a few minutes later Coventry had a lineout of their own in the 22m, and, after the forwards had peeled off the back, Will Rigg carried hard before feeding his centre partner Will Wand who dotted down with relative ease. Will Talbot-Davies’ kick added the two. (7-5)
Finding some rhythm Cov began to grow into the game and, on the 29 minute mark, we had our second. From another lineout in our visitors’ 22m we broke off the back and went through the hands, only for Nottingham’s David Williams to deliberately knock-on, preventing us going over. The referee awarded the 7 points for a penalty try, and sent the winger to the bin for ten minutes. (14-5)
Nottingham soon reacted though, carrying well through the midfield to find themselves in the Cov 22m with an advantage. After several minutes of sustained pressure, our visitors eventually powered over through hooker Jack Dickinson. This time, Bunting made no mistake from the tee. (14-12)
The teams looked to be going into the sheds with only two points between them, until Cov took one last roll of the dice on the stroke of halftime. Chudley threaded a well-weighted grubber through the Nottingham backline from the base of a ruck, and Jimmy Martin floated in behind to connect onto the end of it and dot down. Talbot-Davies slotted the conversion excellently from out wide. (21-12)
HALF TIME: Coventry 21-12 Nottingham
Cov came out of the sheds in the same fashion as they’d gone in – firing. It took less than five minutes to secure the bonus point, when Will Talbot-Davies dived over in the far corner from a simple one-out pass. Then, just 3 minutes later, Cov had another. We broke the Nottingham line in midfield, first through James Martin and then through James Tyas, before consolidating our position with a few phases 5m out from our visitors’ tryline. After some hard carries from the forwards, Suva Ma’asi burrowed his way under the Nottingham defenders to claim the score. Talbot-Davies added the extras. (33-12)
Much like in the first half however, our visitors responded to the setback almost immediately. From some broken field, winger Harry Graham was simply too quick for the Cov defence, who were unable to prevent him from dotting down on the whitewash in the far corner. Bunting’s conversion went through. (33-19)
After fifteen scoreless minutes, the closest we got to a ‘lull’ in this fast-paced thriller, Cov would score their final try of the encounter. From a lineout in the Nottingham 22m, Senitiki Nayalo bulldozed his way over, carrying multiple Archers defenders with him. (38-19)
Nottingham wouldn’t leave without a final score of their own however, as our visitors hit back one last time in this action-packed game. Cov did well to defend a lineout drive and managed to kick clear, but the men in green and white wouldn’t be deterred, as Michael Green dived over in the near corner in what would prove to be the game’s final points-scoring action.
FULL TIME: Coventry 38-24 Nottingham
A massive thank you to all the home supporters that came to the BPA today, as well as our visitors from Nottingham. We look forward to welcoming you all back next season!