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Match Report

Coventry opened their Championship account with a superb third quarter display that clinched a bonus point win over stubborn Caldy.

The hosts went into the break with a 14-5 advantage after outstanding man-of-the-match Matt Kvesic opened his Cov account on the stroke of half-time.

Alex Rae’s team went on to put any debate about the result firmly to bed in the next 20 minutes by upping the tempo to score 19 unanswered points.

After the interval second row George Smith claimed a brace of tries, there were singles for replacement Tom Ball and Louis James while Ryan Hutler added a try-of-the-season contender to his first half opener.

Cov now progress to next week’s testing trip to Ampthill in good heart and with only head knock victim Will Rigg added to the injury list.

Kvesic and Will Chudley combined to send Eliot Salt racing into space in the early stages only for the prop to be penalised in contact.

But it was Caldy that took an early lead through flanker Nyle Davidson who was driven over from close range after their forwards twice made progress through the maul.

The visitors’ defence then came to the fore to twice deny Cov’s attempts to turn the tables on them and convert good attacking positions into five points via a driving maul.

But when referee Harry Walbaum penalised the men in black on the ground Cov winger Hutler cut a good line to the posts and Evan Mitchell added the extras.

Cov were finding plenty of joy at the breakdown and when they won a penalty on the ground Mitchell pinned Caldy back into their own 22 only for a knock on and subsequent scrum penalty to provide the visitors with an easy escape.

The match was developing into a contest between a home side seeking tempo and Caldy’s scrum and maul power but Cov three times turned possession over in good positions through handling errors.

Play was almost exclusively in the visitors’ half and when Smith stole a lineout Jimmy Martin was held just short of the line on the opposite flank.

Cov continued to pile pressure on and when Caldy conceded their eleventh penalty of the half Kvesic reacted fastest to force his way under the posts for a try which Mitchell converted.

This left Cov with a nine-point interval advantage until Tongan World Cup fly half Pat Pellegrini and powerhouse centre Rigg, who were both introduced at half-time, immediately combined to send Smith over for a score which Pellegrini upgraded.

With the home side now finding good continuity some neat handling and Martin’s inside step sent James over for the bonus- point clinching try.

And the blue-and-whites struck for a third time in 11 second-half minutes through newly-arrived flanker Ball who got on the shoulder of Obi Nkwocha’s break to apply the finishing touch to a score which Pellegrini converted.

Both sides emptied their benches either side of the hour mark and Cov did well to hold off a long spell of Caldy pressure constructed around a series of penalties deep in home 22.

The visitors threatened again through winger Will Robinson only for play to be recalled for a forward pass. It was therefore Coventry that crossed next when the outstanding Hutler got the crowd on their feet by applying an incredible sliding finish to Pellegrini’s cross-kick to claim his seventh try of the season.

Fittingly Coventry also had the last word when the towering figure of Smith who had been prominent in the loose throughout applied the finishing touch to a lineout drive before Pellegrini converted.

Line-Ups:

Coventry Rugby: James; Hutler, Wand, Titherington, Martin; Mitchell, Chudley; Chilvers, Poole, Salt; Nkowcha, Smith; Ryan, Kvesic, Bartlett.

Replacements: Ma’asi, Cordwell, Nicol, Anstey, Ball, Lane, Rigg, Pellegrini

Caldy: Hayes; Robinson, Wilkinson, Barlow, Cartmill; Barker, Murray;  Rushton, Hearn, Sprotson; Gerrard, S.Dickinson; Murphy, Davidson, JJ Dickinson.

Replacements: Higginson, Gallagher, Sanderson, Olyott, Crowe, Pilgrim, Jones, Rogers

Scorers:

Coventry Rugby:

Tries: Hutler (16) (75), Kvesic (40), Smith (43) (80), James (48), Ball (51)

Cons: Mitchell (16) (40) Pellegrini (43) (51) (80)

Pens:

Caldy:

Tries: Davidson (4)

Referee: Harry Walbaum

Attendance: 2611

Star man: Matt Kvesic

Half-time: Coventry Rugby 14-5 Caldy

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