by John Butler
FOUR weeks into the new season and Cov are just one point off top spot after four straight wins – a run which has already seen the squad notch up 25 tries while only conceding only five as they trail Darlington Mowden by just a solitary bonus point.
Heady times, yes, but as has been seen before, it is so necessary for feet to be kept firmly on the ground. Esher away on Saturday will, without doubt, pose a real threat.
After finishing last season in eighth place, to date Esher’s record of two wins from four puts them in tenth after a mixed start.
Home form would seem to have been a lot better than form away from Molesey Road. Whereas at Plymouth the margin of defeat was 43-10 and last Saturday at Ampthill 45-5, at home it has been much the reverse. Newcomers Old Elthamians were despatched 39-14 on the opening day and near rivals Rosslyn Park 32-17 two weeks ago.
Factor in as well that Coventry sides have only won once on the ground in eight visits, in the 2013/14 season, and it should also act as a clear warning that the visit to Surrey will be far from easy. but also a real incentive.
As a point of balance, however, it is also fair to mention that Esher themselves have only won once at Butts Park, and that by a single point two seasons ago. The home side has really tended to dominate results.
Cov will make the journey certainly confident but with the words of head coach Nick Walshe ringing in their ears, stressing there can be no sitting back whilst also guarding against complacency.
Looking at the starting line-up Esher took to Ampthill last week, few of the 17 or so players new to the squad this season were involved. The exceptions were winger Kariym Irving, from Worthing, who was named man-of-the-match in the win over Rosslyn Park, Australian centre Chris Arnold and at No.8 , Ali Bone. Cov supporters will recall Ali’s spell at the Butts Park Arena last season with six senior games in the Blue & White jersey.
Amongst Esher’s retained players from last season was hooker Devlin Hope, who made 22 appearances in a Cov jersey two seasons ago before departing at that stage to London Scottish.
Another to remain at Molesey Road is winger Spencer Sutherland, a Cov member in his Loughborough days some six seasons back.
Esher’s retained list from last season numbered some 25 players.
The hosts on Saturday, like Cov but for differing reasons, will view the encounter as being a massive game. In Esher’s case, to try and maintain their home record and help offset the defeats on their travels.
For the very first time, Cov’s new Development squad are also due at the same away venue as their seniors. They too look to take on their Esher counterparts in the Zoo Sports Shield after a fine win at home last Saturday.
From a Coventry perspective, the level of support the much-travelled and enthusiastic band of supporters can give will be another important factor. The Supporters Club are again running a coach to the game.
Kick-off time for the National One match is 3pm.