Bears dominate Oxford in League One Shield
Coventry Bears 48 - 6 Oxford RLFC
Butts Park Arena 3pm kick off Saturday 23/7/2016
The Bears gained another comprehensive win yesterday at the Butts Park Arena versus southern rivals Oxford. It was important for the Bears to win in this first round of the League One shield and the players delivered in the second half.
The game began with the Bears setting the pace of the match, some good opportunities were not taken and it wasnt until 10 minutes into the match for full back Charlie O'mara to scorch through the line and score untouched. Joel James kicked the conversion and it was 6-0.
Oxford fought back but never really troubled the Bears line it wasnt long until Bears captain Richie Hughes forced his way over in typical style from close. James converted and it was 12-0 on 18 mins.
The Bears kept building pressure and after some agressive and quick forward play passed the ball quickly to the right and Eddie Medforth flew onto the end of the pass to dive in the corner in spectacular fashion to make it 16-0.
Moving into the final quarter of the first half the Bears lost some respect for the ball and it didnt take Oxford long to capitalise as a loose ball went to the floor Oxford picked it up and went 70 meters to score, Casy Canterbury finishing the play as the Bears struggled to regroup on the line after the break. The try was converted and it was 12-6 with 7 minutes of the first half remaining. Oxford defended well and the Bears needed to learn some lessons from a scrappy half but went in at half time confident they could turn the screw on their opponents.
The second half started with that man Richie Hughes once again stamping the Bears authority on the match. Within just 2 minutes he was over under the posts. Joel James converted easily and the Bears were firmly in control. The pack really looked dominant and were making yards with ease. 22-6 on 42mins.
Next it was the turn of the left edge to have their say as Matt Reid broke away and powered over on the left. The rangey centre proving just to much to handle for Oxford. James converted which took the score to28-6 on 51 minutes.
It was all one way now for the Bears as the Oxford middle unit began to tire and Alex Beddows and Jack Morrison scored two back to back trys in powerful fashion. The first by Beddows was one of strength turning amidst 3 defenders to reach out and score. The second a blockbuster effort from Jack Morrison who ran a good line and over the top of his opposite number to score. This proved a real crowd pleaser brining everyone to their feet. James converted both and it was 38-6 with 20 minutes remaining.
Oxford dug deep but found no glory in the last 20 minutes often giving away penalties to give the Bears easy field position. On 63 and 66 minutes centre Eddie Medforth scored twice out wide to put the final nails in the coffin as the Bears rounded off another important result if they are to challenge for one of the top spots in the Shield.
Bears Head coach Tom Tsang commented:
We were a little scrappy in the first half, with poor completion rate and we gave away a fair few penalties which kept Oxford in the game. But once we cut those errors out, we really dominated the game. It was a big improvement on our last game versus South Wales, and will give us confidence going into the rest of the season. We have another week off now so we will continue to work on our combinations and keep focusing on a strong end to the season.
Mom- Richie Hughes, two early tries which kept us in the lead at key times in the game
Richie Hughes (c)
The Bears have a week off next week before going into round three versus South Wales Scorpions on Saturday 6th August. Last time the teams met Bears scrapped the win so it should be a great fixture at the Butts Park Arena 3pm kick off. #covbears #inthistogether
Picture of Richie Hughes by Tim Nunan