Bears get off to a rough start
Oldham Roughyeds 42 Coventry Bears 6
Bears get off to rough start against experienced Roughyeds
pictures by David Murgatroyd
The Bears first journey into the semi professional ranks got off to a rough start at the hands of Oldham on Sunday in the newly named Ipro sport cup. The weather conditions were wet and artic like but this favoured the northern side which featured a formidable forward pack with a number of players which have had Super league experience. The Roughyeds as they are known only missed out on promotion to the Championship last year to Hunslet Hawks by 1pt and will be keen to put that right this season. Scott Naylors team have also signed a dual registration agreement with Huddersfield Giants which will see their small but elite squad bolstered further still by top quality players.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Bears as Oldham played the slopped pitch well for the first quarter scoring two unanswered trys in the first 20 minutes. The Bears hit back through a Ben Tyers try on the top right of the field just before halftime, the prop had just come off the bench and made a valuable contribution straight away.
The score was to 12-6 after 30 minutes and the Bears looked to be holding their own but when Oldham kicked through and the Bears spilled the ball the Oldham side capitalised and scored in the corner. Soon after another Bears mistake turned the ball over to Oldham from a forward pass on the 40m and the Roughyeds capitalised yet again to take the score to 22-6 at halftime. The Bears were taught a lesson that at this level mistakes can be costly.
As the conditions worsened in the second half, it was the Roughyeds who showed their power and strength to punish the Bears further with two more quick fire trys. Both Oldham wingers Adam Clay and Jarrod Ward finshing plays strongly out wide after strong forward play down the middle. Oldham halfback Lewis Palfrey was on target with a 100% record with the boot for all trys which put the game even more out of sight for the Bears. Three more trys were scored late on by Oldham who were now getting into their stride and were very hard to handle for the Bears who will learn from the game and come back next week knowing what to expect from what is sure to be one of the strongest teams in League one this season.
The Bears play at Oldham again next week in the Ladbrokes Challenge cup 3rd round and will look to improve on this weeks match as they build towards a first league game on Good Friday April 3rd at the Butts Park Arena.
Bears team: 1.Troy Brophy 2.Andy Winfield 3.Eddie Medforth 4. Stephen Coleman 5.Jamahl Hunte 6.Cameron Boulter 7. Dan Poulton 8. John Aldred 9. Alex Brown 10. James Geurtjens 11.Chris Barratt 12.Liam Thompson 13.Simon Phillips (CAPTAIN) 14.Matt Cooper 15.Alex Calvert 16. Billy Sheen 17. Ben Tyers
Bears MOM was James Geurtjens
Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang commented: "Obviously it is disappointing to lose any game, even more so when the points difference is so big. However I really think there are a lot of positives to take out of the match today. As it was our first competitive game at this level it was a real step into the unknown for the squad with at least three-quarters of the side needing to step up the highest level of RL they have ever played. At 12-6 down with over 30 minutes played, we were well in the game and if we could have gone in at half time with that scoreline, playing down the hill in the second half, the match would have been a lot closer. But as it was we made a couple of errors which Oldham were good enough to exploit. Oldham were also very strong in the ruck and it was a constant battle through the game to try to stay in the contest at the play the ball, which we just werent able to do enough. This is a key opportunity to learn though and I am sure we will be much improved next week having now experienced playing against an elite team in this competition who will no doubt be fighting for promotion in September."