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Butts Park Arena comes up trumps

Saturday was my first ever visit to the city of Coventry, let alone the rugby ground; and that's from someone who has lived in the West Midlands since the age of 18. I hasten to say - it's not that I have any particular aversion to the place, just that I've never found a reason to go there... until now.

As a Worcester resident of the past 20+ years, perhaps I had the subconscious impression that Coventry might not be the most welcoming of places. After all, the phrase 'sent to Coventry' originated during the English Civil War, when captured Royalists were imprisoned in the heavily fortified and strongly pro-Parliament city. Unsurprisingly, they were given a hard time by the locals. I suspect a good many of those Royalists had links to the Faithful City.


Any concerns we may have had about our welcome to the Butts Park Arena, to watch Coventry take on Bedford Blues, were soon dismissed however. We were greeted by sunshine, friendly faces and the vocal talents of club announcer, Richard Barnes, giving an impressive rendition of the "WARRIORS!!" chant. There was even a handful of slightly bemused Worcester Warriors fans who had made their own way to the game, having no idea that they would be consumed by a coach load of people with the same affiliation.


The rugby itself was free-flowing, although the first half was tighter than the second. Bedford would perhaps have been slightly disappointed to be level-pegging at half time,12-12, having had the better of the home team, save for a 15 minute purple patch when Coventry scored twice. After the break however, the hosts stepped up a gear with winger Ryan Hutler completing a hat-trick and fly half Pat Pellegrini scoring 19 points, including a try of his own. With the game finishing at 54-19 and Coventry concreting their league position of 2nd, it was time for the celebrations to begin.


Matt Kvesic and Will Chudley were kind enough to come over to Block 2 of the XL Motors stand, to talk with the Warriors Supporters and pose for photos. Matt was insistent that he was "absolutely knackered" (having done little training in the week) - but he still managed the full 80, only to then continue running around the pitch with Kvesic Junior. Will had announced his retirement from professional rugby earlier in the week and seemed in more pensive mood - perhaps reflecting that there won't be many more occasions like this to go. He'd had a great 60 minutes, setting up two tries and still displaying the skills honed in a long Premiership career.



Fortunately, we then a good 90 minutes left before our coach was set to depart. For most, this was spent in the Clubhouse Bar, chatting with the Coventry folk and enjoying a beer or two. From a WWST perspective it was time well spent, with very useful conversations about the future for Tier 2 rugby. We are especially grateful to Paul Ingleston (Chairman of Coventry Rugby Supporters Club), Nick Johnston (Club CEO and, of course, an ex-Warriors' Performance Director) and to Club Chairman, Jon Sharp, for taking the time to talk to us and for making us feel so welcome.


NEXT STOP HARTPURY


To continue on the away-day theme, the next adventure for WWST is on May 4th to watch Hartpury University take on Caldy RFC. We are all hoping that these will be more familiar teams, and Worcester Warriors' competitors, come the 2025-26 season. Caldy currently sit in 10th place, eight points ahead of bottom side Cambridge, whilst Hartpury are up in 7th, with eight wins under their belt already this season. Fingers-crossed that ex-Warriors, Joe Rees and Jack Johnson, will get some game time.



CLEARER AIMS


You may have noticed some changes to our website of late. Apologies if anyone has had their browsing interrupted by the maintenance. We have added a "Video Library" - a collation of some of the highlights of being a Warriors fan over the last few years. Warning - if you're feeling a little sensitive then I'd leave the Tribute video until later; it's a bit of a tear-jerker.

Our home page has also been updated with the trust's new "pared back" aims. We think that they convey our message in a more succinct manner than the previous wording, without losing any of the sentiment behind it:


OUR FOCUS

 

The return of Worcester Warriors to Sixways Stadium.

 

OUR IMPACT 

 

The strong and democratic voice of supporters.

A help not a hindrance to the club.

 

OUR COMMUNITY

 

To honour the Duckworth Legacy by reconnecting Warriors' supporters.

OUR VISION 

 

Elite level rugby for Men and Women driven by a thriving youth programme.



THE RUGBY PAPER


The Supporters Trust is always looking for ways of spreading the word about our organisation. It was a pleasure to speak again with Ben Jaycock of The Rugby Paper last week to update him on how things have changed since our last interview in June last year. The paper will remain on sale until Saturday 27th or you can subscribe to the online version.

Please do all you can to broadcast the work of the trust and persuade your fellow supporters to sign up, either to the website, or preferably as a subscribed member. Let's all help to get our men, our women and our academy back to Sixways.


 

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