COVENTRY skipper Phil Boulton is happy that Saturday’s nine-try win at Esher will put to bed any doubts about the side’s form away from Butts Park Arena.
After a scrappy win at Old Albanian two weeks earlier, Boulton was looking for a positive response from the players which he feels he got with their performance at a ground which had not been a lucky one in the past.
“I was really pleased with the performance – we got the monkey off our back a little,” said Boulton. “We’re not going to talk about it again, but obviously, although we won we were very disappointed the last time we played away.
“The coaches asked for a reaction and I asked for a reaction from the players because I didn’t think it was anything to do with how we prepared in the week or anything tactical or technical, it was down to attitude on the day, so we were pretty keen to put that right and I’d like to think we did.”
Cov went behind to a try inside the opening minute after failing to tidy up Esher’s kick-off, but they didn’t let it affect their resolve.
“Obviously it wasn’t the best of starts, but it was a well-worked try by Esher,” said Boulton. “They weren’t going to bother us in terms of getting through our defensive line, but the 10 saw the space behind and put in a pretty good kick. It was a lucky bounce for the line chaser and he scored.
“It was a 50-50, on another day it might have bounced another way and he wouldn’t have scored, so it was one of those things we didn’t need to dwell on. There was a little bit of a miscommunication in our kick-off take, so we spoke about that but then moved straight on to the next bit and it was perhaps the shot across the bows that we needed.”
Cov’s response was to take the game by the scruff of the neck, dominating in the forwards to score six tries before half-time with the pressure applied leading to three yellow cards for Esher.
Sad Boulton: “We’d watched a lot of their games and we knew they’d be quite handy up front, so we wanted to take it to them and try to nullify that.
“They’ve got some really dangerous backs as well but, obviously, if the backs don’t get the ball they’re not going to do anything, so we wanted to get them in a bit of an arm wrestle, we locked them in that and I’d like to think we came out on top.
“We were a bit loose at the start of the second half and we’ll look at that, but we had a couple of injuries and as a result a couple of players playing in and out of position which didn’t help.
“I think some of our contact skills were pretty poor, that’s another thing we have to look at moving forward, but the pleasing thing is we had three lads making their club debuts, away from home and at a really tough place where we got it handed to us last year and they really stood out.”
The result leaves Cov in second place in the table, a point behind Darlington Mowden Park who are also unbeaten in five games, but Boulton insists that Cov are concentrating solely on their own performances.
“We don’t need to worry too much about anyone else. If we look too far ahead or too far on the outside, then we’ll lose focus on ourselves – it’s all about Coventry really and making sure we get our house in order the whole of the time, tick things off one by one, and if things don’t go well, we rectify that quickly and move on.”
Backs Anthony Matoto and Tom Emery and prop Nathanael Titchard-Jones – or Turkish, as he is known in the squad – made their Cov league debuts on Saturday, and from a front row perspective Boulton was delighted with the latter’s contribution.
“The pleasing thing about Turkish is that he’s been patient, he’s worked hard and he’s listened. He wants to prove his own point.
“It was his opportunity and I was really pleased he came through so well. I think he should be pleased with his performance – I certainly was.”