With Saracens playing in France I was in need of a rugby union fixture, so I booked myself a ticket to watch Wasps take on Leinster in the European Rugby Champions Cup game. I had no idea when I picked the game that it’d be the decider for the group! Result!
Being a bit of a bimbo at times I couldn’t really think just how long it’d take me to get to Coventry, in spite of having lived in Stratford-on-Avon for a year I had problems picturing where it was! So, with a 1pm kick off I decided I’d try the De Vere hotel in the stadium.
Again in blond style I booked myself a pitch side room for £60 – then got a confirmation email to tell me I’d need to check out at 8am! That wasn’t a plan at all! So I re-booked for a Club room at an extra £20.
After a hair cut (so rude that my hairdresser of years calls it a tint!) I set off to Coventry – turns out it’s the M11 followed by the A14 with a bit of M6 added in. 2 lane motorways means no yelling ‘Move Over!’ but oh my! Friday afternoon on the M11 brought out the BMW I’m going to tailgate the car in front of me in spite of here being at least 25 cars in front of us!
Then there was the BMW driver behind me who held his phone and chatted to it – not to his ear – so that of course made it all ok! Not a good afternoon for BMW drivers!
The journey took about 2 3/4 hours – my Satnav kept saying it was 90 minutes away even as I’d travelled a good half an hour each time. That would’ve been the long queue as I approached the M1/M6 junction.
I’d decided I wanted to sing the whole way so a playlist it was, no random rubbish tunes that I didn’t know for this trip. Song of the journey – Love Never Felt So Good – Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. I have no idea how the music industry brings out new songs from MJ – but they do, and I love this one!
A made a trip to Ikea in Coventry to buy a wardrobe, as you do when you live in Essex and was interested to hear that the husband and son of the lady who served me were going to the game the next day. It seems the locals are going to give Wasps a go!
A visit to the biggest Tesco store I’ve ever seen yielded me breakfast, had I realised there was a Costa available at the hotel I may not have bothered – then again it is nice to lounge in bed for a change and eat brekkie. The hotel isn’t signposted at all as far as I could see, which wasn’t hugely ideal, it wasn’t easy to find in spite of the hugely impressive Ricoh Stadium being very easy to spot.
I parked in the wrong car park, but that didn’t seem to be an issue. After I checked in I made my way to my room, it became clear this hotel was part of a sports stadium when I had to walk up a flight of stairs that felt almost outside, if that makes sense, to get to my room.
The room was a decent size, but felt a bit soulless, there was a huge clock on the wall, but no paintings, and stark white walls. The bathroom was a decent size with a good bath, it had automatic lights – so a tip if you should stay there? Take the activation card out of the slot if you think you’ll need to use the bathroom in the night – bright lights at 4am aren’t a plan! The bed was comfortable as were the pillows and in spite of looking out onto a main road it was quiet, allowing a good sleep.
I met a Twitter friend in the bar, he’s a Wasps fan and was chatting to a Leinster fan- only in rugby! We had a good rugby chat and then Mr Leinster very kindly bought me dinner – that is when we were eventually allowed to sit at a table and actually order some food. It seems the hotel hadn’t accounted for the fact they had to feed a rugby team! A bit poor, but I believe the hotel paid for the drinks we had, which was a nice gesture.
What was surreal during the evening was that there seemed to be a lot of Wasps wandering about – players that is! Unusual to look up and see James Haskell and Co walking past, or to get in the lift and find Tom Lindsay or Christian Wade! A good surreal though of course!
A fairly good sleep followed by a lazy morning brought match time closer. I went and had a bit of a walk round the stadium and chatted to a few people – so were Wasps fans but a fair few were local people who will I’m sure become Wasps fans. They were coming to see 2 teams steeped in history as far as European rugby is concerned.
I’m very lucky that a very lovely Twitter friend Nigel has invited me into his box when I’ve watched Wasps this season, it’s meant that rather than sit alone I get to spend time with avid fans of the club and the game. I’ve always had a great time and this match was no exception.
A few words about the game in lieu on my match report – Ashley Johnson changed Wasps’ game plan by getting a yellow card, which could easily have been a red, in the 1st minute! Neither team really shone, as I was driving home I was trying to think about the best moment of the game – and I actually couldn’t think of one! I’m going to go with waiting until I watch the game again in the morning. The game finished a draw, which was probably a fair result.
Leinster go into the quarter finals having finished top of the group – Wasps will have to wait for the results of the other groups to see if they progress. All in all it was a slightly disappointing game. Leinster will need life their game as will Wasps if the progress further.
Some facts and figures –
- Cost of Ticket £35.00
- Pint of Lager £4.00
- Pint of Bitter £4.00
- Pint of Cider £4.00
- Spirits £3.00
- Wine 18.75ml £4.50
- Soft Drinks 500ml £2.10
- Water £1.80
- Hog Roast £6.00
- The Whole Hog £8.00
- Sausage & Onions £5.00
Fod is also on offer in the Casino within the stadium
- Pulled Pork Roll £5.00
- Sausage Sandwich £5.00
- Burger & Chips £5.00
- Chips £2.00
- Loaded Nachos £5.00
The Costa on site provides their usual fare at their usual prices.
- Ladies toilets – hard to judge on this visit – the box has the standard hotel room loo, the supporters bar decent toilets, but no paper in the 1st I went into. Clean and with soap and had dryers
- Safety – not an issue at all – you can park close to the stadium and the atmosphere was great!
- Nicest moment of the day – spending time with Wasps friends and chatting to a couple of Coventry Ambassadors – a legacy from the Olympics – before the game
- Best moment of the game – reserving judgement until I watch it again! And having watched it all over again – Nathan Hughes try – a well taken forwards try!
It was lovely to be in the bar after the game and seeing the players walk through – I managed to be cool and not ask for any photos, it was hard though!
The journey home was a good one – just over 2 hours, amazing the difference n long queue makes. Wasps have a very impressive set up which I’m sure will thrive and grow, a crowd in excess of 23,ooo is pretty fine for an early game!
Match report here! http://wp.me/p3oCci-2Bx