On a bitterly cold Boxing Day, Coventry headed to Lady Bay to face Nottingham in the pursuit of consecutive wins following a strong performance at home against Richmond a little over a week ago.
Coming away from the Bay with a victory to name, is never a simple task, and the home side demonstrated why just minutes into the encounter. After a brutal driving maul inside the Coventry 22m, Nathan Tweedy managed to barrel his way over before fly half, Morgan Bunting’s conversion strayed slightly wide. (5-0)
The opening score appeared to be the wakeup call that Alex Rae’s men needed to shift in to gear. In the 7th minute of the contest Coventry responded in similar fashion to that of the home team, with a driving maul of their own. The only way to stop this attack was to bring it down to the ground illegally, as the referee awarded a penalty try before sending Nottingham’s David Williams to the sin bin. (5-7)
As we’ve seen this season, once the Coventry attacking juices start flowing, they can be difficult to stop. The Lady Bay crowd, which consisted of its fair share of Cov supporters, were then treated to a wondrous score straight from the Butts Park training paddock. A delicious chip over the rushing defensive line landed in the safe hands of James Martin who continued his try-scoring form and raced to the line. Pellegrini converted and the score was 5-15 after a little less than 15 minutes played.
Coventry looked to keep the foot on the gas as two more scores followed in quick succession. The first came after a patient and well-constructed team attacking set. Two Will’s managed to link up close to the Nottingham line as Rigg found Wand to score in the corner. This was followed by another slick passage of play with ball in hand for Coventry. After plenty of deliberation in the stands, it was confirmed that Tom Dodd had in fact been the one to carry the ball over the line. (5-24)
Nottingham are not a side that tend to simply go away, and demonstrated their main threat once again before the end of the first period. Another driving maul proved too hot to handle as Marcus Rammage went over before the referee sent the sides in to the sheds to warm up.
Half time: 12-24
The second half started in almost identical fashion to the first. Another Nottingham lineout, another Nottingham maul, another Nottingham try. This time hooker, Harry Clayton went over to tighten up the score line to 17-24 just minutes in to the second period.
Coventry managed to replenish the cushion on the scoreboard on the 50-minute mark as the front row displayed a real period of dominance in the scrum. Cov overturned a Nottingham scrum before Senitiki Nayalo spotted a gap to score. Pellegrini added the extras. (17-31)
Both sides entered a stalemate for the next 15 minutes or so with neither team managing to pierce the other’s defence effectively. The state of equilibrium ended as the final 10 minutes very much belonged to Coventry, as two final scores settled a well-earned away victory.
The first came from Josh Bainbridge, who turned on the afterburners to race through the Notts defence after some loose play. The second and final try of the day came from substitute, Will Lane, who ran a textbook scrum half support line before darting through a gap to dot down. Pat Pellegrini added the simple extras making the final score 17-45.
Thank you to all the travelling supporters that came to the rather chilly Lady Bay, and we look forward to seeing you all back at the BPA in the new year as we take on Jersey Reds in a mouth-watering 2nd vs 3rd clash on Saturday 14th January.