A day billed as ‘Cov in the Community’ certainly did not disappoint, as more than 1’200 people gathered at Broadstreet Rugby Football Club to see our young Coventry side take on Premiership giants, Bath Rugby. The weather well and truly got the memo, and delivered a warm and sunny Saturday for fans from Somerset, Butts Park and Broadstreet locals to enjoy.
Bath named two completely different starting XV’s for each half, as this was their very first hit-out of the pre season. This meant that each period would pose very different threats to the Coventry side. The first began with a level of intensity that matched the energy brought to the surface by a busy Broadstreet crowd.
Coventry began the game enjoying some early pressure, this was most visible in the scrum where the front row of Toby Trinder, captain Jordon Poole and Harry Seward were comfortably on top. After over-turning a Bath scrum in the middle of the paddock, Cov put together their first proper attacking set of the game. Following serval pick and go’s close to the Bath line, eventually James Martin delivered the power to make it over and give Cov a well deserved lead on the 8 minute mark. Evan Mitchell landed the extras from the left hand side 15m line. (7-0)
As Bath began to get more in to the game and dust off the pre season training cobwebs, the Somerset side began to enjoy more extended periods of possession. Piers Francis was showing his class at 10, with some excellent game management and useful probing kicks off a trusty right foot. After working the ball down the left in the 14th minute, and providing quick ball at the ruck – Bath switched the play to the far right hand flank in the blink of an eye, before Gabe Goss showed his blistering pace to finish in the corner. Francis converted and we were level once again. (7-7)
Both sides traded box kicks and tested each other’s patience for the next few minutes, before the flow of the game was somewhat interrupted by an unfortunate injury to Adam Peters who was forced to leave the field. On the 25 minute mark, Peters’ absence was felt as Bath kicked to the corner and rumbled over to score their second of the day with a virtually unstoppable driving maul. Once again, England international, Piers Francis was successful with the conversion. (7-14)
Cov came close on multiple occasions before the end of the half, no more so than with a disallowed James Martin try in the same corner as his earlier score. There was adjudged to be a forward pass in the build up after a clever offload from Louis Brown who was a threat from the back all day. Cov went in to the sheds one score down and with plenty of positives to take from the first 40.
Unfortunately, whilst the fierce competitive nature of the game was certainly matched in the second half, the scoreline was far less flattering from a Coventry perspective. With names such as Ben Spencer, Ben Obano and Tom Dunn on the field, the mix of experience and fire power began to show. With 52 minutes played, Tom Dunn dotted down after a series of ominous looking driving mauls. (7-19)
Cov responded well, who’s promising attacking set was brought to an abrupt end as Bath won a penalty at the ruck. From the resulting line out on half-way, the Premiership side cut through the Coventry defensive line with a clever and well-run move. Ben Spencer went over before Orlando Bailey’s conversion ricocheted back off the left-hand post. (7-24)
Despite an enormous amount of heart and perseverance showed by the young Coventry team – who came agonisingly close to scoring before a Ben Spencer intercept virtually on the try line was met with dismay from the Broadstreet crowd – Bath managed to score two quick consecutive tries in the final 6 minutes to make the scoreline slightly less competitive than the game truly was.
First it was Gabriel Hamer-Webb, who raced down the line before squeezing the ball down in the corner after a pin point ‘up and under’ from full-back Matt Gallagher. Finally, Jaco Coetzee dotted down in the same corner, as the opposition’s fresh legs were really beginning to prove to be the difference. Bailey landed his conversion, and that was that. (FT 7-38)
Despite the final score, it was a day with plenty of positives for the Coventry team, who demonstrated to the 1’200+ that there is much to be excited about this upcoming season before we face Bedford Blues on Friday 9th September at Butts Park Arena.
Thank you to our hosts Broadstreet RFC, and the travelling Bath Rugby players, staff and fans who made for an excellent day.