Coventry Bears Rugby League
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Dream start for the Bears

Coventry Bears 32 Oxford Rugby League 10

Kingstone Press League One Round 1

Butts Park Arena, Good Friday, April 3rd, 3pm

Gallery pictures by Tim Nunan, Natasha Hancock and Rich Draper

Coventry Bears launched their new life as a professional club in style with a win against Oxford in Round 1 of the new era of Kingstone Press League One. The Bears got off to a great start infront of a bumper crowd who braved the wet weather to roar the team on.

The Bears started off the scoring when Jamahl hunte broke down the line wide on the left after which Billy Sheen continued the play with a kick through which he regathered to score under the posts. Stephen Coleman converted the kick to make it a dream start for the Bears. 6-0.

Soon after a high bombing kick from Marsh allowed the Bears to put more pressure on Oxford as they spilled the ball Matt Cooper pounced on it to then go over unchallenged under the posts. Coleman was on hand again to get the extras and extend the score to 12-0.

The game was all Bears and when Oxford failed to find touch and gave away more yards from a penalty the Coventry men wasted no time in shifting the ball quickly from left to right for Eddie Medforth to dive over out wide. Coleman couldnt convert but the score was now a comfortable 16-0.

Another mistake from Oxford led to the Bears getting the ball 10 yards out and some simple passing along the line and a deft touch from Marsh gave Josh Guzdek the opportunity to punish Oxford yet again on the right wing. Coleman was unsuccessful with the kick but the score was 20-0. The Bears looked determined in both defence and attack and it looked like Oxford would have a steep hill to climb now. Bears Tom Hall was also unlucky not to score minutes later with a great run.

The weather started to deteriorate as the continued drizzle of rain made the pitch surface very slippy. This seemed to favour Oxfords up the middle approach and as they were handed the ball 10 yards out from a penalty Josh Scott powered his way over. The conversion was successful from Allan and they were on the scoreboard. Oxford were unlucky not to score again before the break with a resurgance of pressure on the Bears line but Coventry held firm and it was 20-6 at halftime.

Oxford came out in the second half and looked in a determined mood, they opened the scoring in the second half as Marcus Brooker scored on the left side with a good solo effort. The kick wasnt converted but it was 20-10.

The Bears defence was strong as Josh Guzdek made a try saving tackle just outside their line, and they were able to keep the score at 20-10. Oxford were fast becoming their own worst enemy as the weather was causing a number of errors and the defensive line from the Bears was only getting stronger. A penalty 10m’s out handed Brophy the chance to cross over the line, with the conversion successful meant Coventry were now 26-10.

Coventry ended the game by Medforth going over for his second try in the 80th minute, meaning the game ended Coventry 32 –Oxford 10.

Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang commented:

"I was really happy with the result today, we knew it was going to be a tough physical game and that was certainly what we got. Oxford went big with their squad selecting 4 props on the bench so we knew they wanted the game to be played down the middle. Our plan was to move them around the pitch which was very effective for the first half an hour. When the conditions worsened and the pitch became slippery this played into Oxfords hands but full credit to our boys they dug in deep and put in a gritty defensive performance in the second half. We now have another tough game next week at Oldham where we have already lost twice in the cup competitions so we have a lot to work on. On reflection though today has been a dream start."

Bears man of the match was Billy Sheen

Referee: S Mikalauskas


Half time: 20-6

Full time: 32-10


1 Troy Brophy (1)

 2 Josh Gudek (37)

 3 Eddie Medforth (4)

 4 Stephen Coleman (21)

 5 Jamahl Hunte (20)

 6 Billy Sheen (6)

 7 Matthew Marsh (39)

 8 James Geurtjens (27)

 9 Alex Brown (9)

10 Matt Cooper (26)

11 Liam Thompson (29)

12 Chris Barratt (12)

13 Simon Phillips (13) CAPTAIN

Subs (all used)

14 Connor Robinson (40)

15 Tom Hall (38)

16 Alex Calvert (17)

17 Nick Taylor (3)

Tries: Sheen(3), Cooper (12), Medforth (17,80), Guzdek (20), Brophy (70)

Goals: Coleman 4/6

Field Goals:N/A

Oxford RLFC

1 Jonny Morris(28)

2 Luke Gardiner (21)

3 Marcus Brooker (14)

4 Aaron Jones Bishop (5)

5 Ricky Hopwood (20)

6 Danny Allan (6)

7 Nathan Kitson (9)

8 Jordan Andrade (8)

9 Andy Speake (7)

10 Ed Hayles (12)

11 Kashley Watkins (4)

12 Andy Hoggins (3)

13 Jonny Payne (10)

Subs (all Used)

14 Josh Scott (11)

15 Luke Evans (23)

16 Graham O’Keeffe (16)

17 Kyle Danns (19)

Trys: Scott (35), Brooker (45),  Conversion Allan

Next home match the Bears take on Hemel Stags on Sunday April 19th at the Butts Park Arena.



Bears Media