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Coventry (11) 21  Waterloo (15) 15

The warning was loud and clear from Coundon Road: 'Don't write off Coventry yet'.

The club, which nearly folded in the summer after going broke and calling in the receivers, was given little chance of survival when it was taken over by a local consortium.

But they managed to sign up a team with only days to spare and though they lost at Worcester in the opening fixture they showed great fighting spirit in coming from behind to beat Waterloo in their first home match of the season.

They were behind to a penalty goal within 29 seconds when Lyndon Griffiths kicked the goal for Waterloo after Coventry's new centre threequarter Luis Criscuolo from Argentina was penalised for not releasing the ball after a tackle.

It went from bad to worse. Waterloo's Frenchman Stephane La Rue crashed over from a short range line out for Griffiths to convert, and although fitful 'Cov' retaliated with a penalty by Steve Gough, the visitors stormed even further ahead.

Shaun Woof burst clear of Coventry's back line and fed scrum-half John O'Reilly, who crossed for an unconverted try.

The writing appeared to be on the wall for the home side, but they suddenly clicked into gear. The pack began to dominate and they put heart back into their supporters with a series of surging charges which ended with second row giant Mark Fountaine plunging over. Gough missed the conversion but later added a penalty goal so that Coventry changed ends trailing by 11 pts to 15.

The question on everyone's lips at Coundon Road was could they do enough to win the match? They could and did!

They dominated the second half and Waterloo did not score another point while Coventry ground their way to victory. Derek Eves, the director of rugby, crashed over for a try near the posts which was converted by Gough who later kicked his third penalty goal of the match.

Now it is down to Devon to play Exeter next Saturday.

Kilford; McAdams (Gallagher, 36 mins), Curtis (Robinson, 40mins), Criscuolo, Smallwood; Gough, Dawson; Sharp, Addleton, Crane, Fountaine, Whitley, Crofts, Horrobin, Eves

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CWN / Sport / Rugby / Coventry Rugby Club / 12 Sep 98

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