Mark of respect that hails Chad's progress.
ONE of the most revealing moments of Coventry's win over Blaydon last weekend came four minutes from the end of normal time when prop Chad Thorne was replaced.
As the tight head came off, Blaydon loose head Robbie Kalbraier - himself substituted three minutes earlier - walked forward to meet him at the edge of the pitch and shook him firmly by the hand.
Respect for the job he had done - and coming from someone who has been such a thorn in Cov's side over the years, especially in their September meeting, a significant gesture which was not lost on Thorne.
"He's regularly played for England Counties and I've seen him play before, I always thought he was a good prop," said Thorne, who joined Cov from Hartpury College before the start of last season.
"It's always a good challenge to play against someone like that, but I think I stepped up to the plate."
So, too, did Cov's head coach Scott Morgan, who singled out Thorne's contribution to a strong scrummaging performance. And the Stourbridgeborn forward is certainly happy with the way things are going for him this term after an injury-hit debut season at the club which came to a premature end when he dislocated his elbow at Blackheath in February.
"I feel like I'm on a good run at the moment," said Thorne. "I've not had too many injures this season and I feel that I'm playing well.
"I've still got more in there, I'm still learning from Scott and Dave Addleton, and from the games as well.
"You come up against some good props in this league, you can always learn from them and how to deal with them - they are always asking questions of you, and that's a good thing.
"I thought I played well last season, but there was a bit of a question mark there and I had too many injuries. I needed to improve my durability.
"Pre-season was pretty hard, I did a lot of running and training with the boys away from the team sessions and with mates when I went home to Stourbridge for a month, but I've got into form this year and I'm enjoying being at Cov."
Coventy's winning run, which now stands at 14 games, has certainly added to the enjoyment.
"I've not been involved in a run like that since my mini and junior days when we seemed to win every game, and I remember a good run with my school when I was in sixth form," said Thorne.
"They don't get any better than this - we are playing well, and we don't feel that anyone can beat us at the moment. Everybody is bonding, the boys that are coming in are all enjoying it, and there is a good atmosphere.
"The fans play a massive part, when you hear everyone cheering it gives you a lift and you notice a few boys do a little more, and after the game it is always nice, they all speak to you and shake your hand. When we go to away games the majority of the crowd always seems to be Cov, and that is great.
"If we do lose we want it to be on our terms, not against a team we know we can beat, but we are not thinking about that. We need to keep winning and picking away at Ealing at the top."
Like all emerging players, 26-year-old Thorne has ambitions to go as far as he can in the game but he is not looking too far ahead.
"I think I could play at a higher level, but I'll take it as it comes and I'm just thinking about this season and, if anything, playing better here. I don't want to set my goals too far in front.
"It would be nice to get promoted with Cov, and if it doesn't come this time, it would be good to do it next season if they want me to stay."
Chad Thorne is relishing |his time with Coventry
Robbie Kalbraier (third left) gets stuck in for Blaydon as Cov's Andy Brown tries to make a break
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Jan 14, 2015|
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