COVENTRY need just one more victory to set a new club record of 16 consecutive wins when they host Cinderford in National League One this Saturday.
Scott Morgan’s side continued their impressive surge by beating Wharfedale 17-13 on the road to claim their 15th win a row which equals a sequence of results last achieved back in 1963.
It proved to be a tough challenge for Coventry on Saturday in appalling conditions but they managed to secure a first ever win at Wharfedale and move just four points behind leaders Ealing Trailfinders.
A combination of rain, snow and hail had fallen across the North Yorkshire Dales and by the time the match was over the home pitch looked more like a ploughed field.
A fired up Wharfedale played down the slope in the first period and soon displayed their intent as they shaded the early minutes.
But it was Coventry who importantly drew first blood. A great catch and drive by the forwards forced the home eight backwards and pack leader Matt Price triumphantly crossed the line with Cliffie Hodgson, who was playing out of position on the wing to cover for injury, converted superbly to put the visitors 7-0 in front.
Unsurprisingly though, given the conditions and the slope, it was Wharfedale who enjoyed more of the first half territory.
There were significant periods when the hosts pounded away from close in but Coventry kept them out, during which time George Oliver, following a heavy knock, was replaced in a re-vamped back row by Jake Farnworth.
Just when, despite all the pressure, it looked as if Cov could turn round in front, two scores in four minutes changed the picture before half-time.
First the referee missed a clear Wharfedale knock on near half way and from there the visitors were penalised in their own ’22’ and fly half Jamie Guy slotted home the resultant penalty.
And moments later the hosts scored what would prove to be their only try of the match when an attempted clearance by Barry Davies was charged down by flanker Dan Solomi
Coventry were soon to concede another three points when Guy slotted home an easy penalty to put the hosts 13-7 ahead at the beginning of the second half but that is as good as it got for the hosts.
Hodgson reduced the deficit back to three points after slotting home a penalty on 47 minutes and he almost leveled the score eight minutes later but his second attempt failed.
At this point the visitors were well on top and it was no surprise to see them regain the lead on the hour mark after some fine work by the forwards.
Another catch and drive saw Wharfedale unable to stop the attack and once again Price claimed the touchdown for his third try of the season and Hodgson landed a fine conversion wide out to put Coventry 17-13 in front.
That proved to be the last score of the game with conditions worsening by the minute as the game turned into a kicking dual.
Coventry had winger Dan Rundle to thank for a potentially try saving tackle on 73 minutes after the visitors had a pass well intercepted by the home number ten but Rundle charged back some 30 metres to put in a superb tackle before Wharfedale were penalised and the danger was cleared.
Although a bonus point was not achieved it proved to be an important win for Coventry who cut the margin on league leaders Ealing to four points ahead of Saturday’s clash with Cinderford.