Bears gain first win
GLOUCESTERSHIRE ALL GOLDS 28 – 29 COVENTRY BEARS
Good Friday, Prince of Wales Stadium Cheltenham
A last minute drop goal from Joel James snatched the points from his hometown side who led 16-6 at the break but were clawed back by a dogged Bears side that never went away.
James put in an assured performance with some nerveless goal-kicking and that crucial one pointer at the end that earned his side their first league win of the season.
It was a good contest between two sides with ambitions of breaking into the top eight as it built to a nerve-shredding climax but both sides would be unhappy with both the error count and the penalty count.
A piece of larceny from Courtney Davies, who pinched the ball from Jamahl Hunte and jogged in unopposed opened the scoring for the All Golds and when, three minutes later, Steve Parry drove through a group of tacklers to score a try goaled by Davies the All Golds were worth their 10-0 lead.
The Bears managed to gain some field position and applied pressure to the All Golds line which was rewarded when Jack Morrison powered over for a try goaled by James.
The All Golds introduced loan signing from Widnes Almer Tagayuna whe was soon sporting a head bandage from an incident where James Geurtjens was put on report.
However he showed some good touches and his bullet pass close to the line gave Lamont Bryan his first try for the club.
The Bears clung on and remorselessly dragged themselves into the contest. Eddie Medforth fought hard to touch down in the corner, James piloting over the sideline conversion.
The All Golds’ kicking game didn’t help their cause as too often they found a Bears’ defender who returned the ball with interest. Their discipline wasn’t much better and when Joe McClean was sin-binned for two consecutive high tackles, the Bears grabbed the initiative.
Davies nudged over a penalty to put a converted try between the sides but just as McClean was preparing to come back, James Redman’s high kick to the corner eluded Chris Barlow and Hayden Freeman grounded the ball before it went dead.
James levelled the score with the conversion but missed the extras when Matt Reid powered over four minutes later.
The game became something of a cup tie in the final quarter of an hour. Davies’ wide ball sent Barlow in for a try that partly made up for his earlier error though the Welsh stand-off couldn’t convert meaning that the scores were level again.
The Bears edged ahead once more Richie Hughes showing strength and determination to score out wide with eight minutes remaining. James calmly converted for a 28-22 advantage.
The All Golds recovered the restart, drove downfield and Parry ploughed over for his second of the evening. Davies tied the score with the goal via a post.
The home side received a penalty on the next set but failed to set up for a drop goal and the Bears showed them how it was done. With barely 30 seconds left on the clock, James’ well-struck kick sailed over to earn Coventry the points and, even at this early stage of the season, put a dent the All Golds’ hopes of a top eight finish.
ALL GOLDS: Brendon Newton; Chris Barlow, Josh Allison, Brad Kislingbury, Phil Cowburn; Courtney Davies; Jayson Lombardo; Ollie Purslow, Steve Parry (C), Harrison Elliott; Lewis Reece, Joe McClean; Emmerson Whittel; Subs (all used); Almer Tagayuna, Lamont Bryan, Alex Davidson, Morgan Evans.
Tries: Courtney Davies (6), Steve Parry (9, 74), Lamont Bryan (32), Chris Barlow (69)
Goals: Courtney Davies 4/6
Sin Bin: Joe McClean (51) High tackle
BEARS: Jason Bass; Jamahl Hunte, Eddie Medforth, Matt Reid, Hayden Freeman; James Redman, Joel James; Trae O’Sullivan, Jay Lobwein, Jack Morrison; Liam Thompson, Chris Barratt; Richie Hughes (Capt); Subs (all used); Charlie O’Mara, Adam Saynor, James Geurtjens, Jono Miliszewski.
Tries: Jack Morrison (22), Eddie Medforth (45), Hayden Freeman (60), Matt Reid (64), Richie Hughes (72)
Goals: Joel James 4/5
Field Goals: Joel James (79)
On Report: James Geurtjens (28 mins – incident in the tackle)
SCORING SEQUENCE: 4-0, 10-0, 10-6, 16-6, 16-12, 18-12, 18-18, 18-22, 22-22, 22-28, 28-28, 28-29
Men of the Match
All Golds: Lamont Bryan
Bears: Joel James
Penalty count: 12-16
Referee: Tom Crashley, Touch Judges: S. Ellis, N. Walker
Tom Tsang Quote:
It's a great feeling to get our first win of the season.
We have started off playing two of the top sides of the competition in Toulouse and Rochdale and found it tough despite glimpses of positives.
The lads have really worked hard the last two weeks in training - and the elements we have been focusing were implemented in the game, and that hard work was rewarded.
The most pleasing part of the game was the grit and resilience we showed when we went behind early in the game. We never stopped working for each other and importantly didn't stop believing we could win the game.
We now have a benchmark performance and will be hoping to build from here.
NEXT MATCH: Coventry Bears v Barrow Raiders Sunday 10th April 3pm, Butts Park Arena. Adults £12 Concessions £10 Young Adults £5 U12's Free
Pictures by Ian Lovell