Coventry Bears Rugby League
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Bears march on

Bears march on to next round


Mike Hyde, Butts Park arena, Sunday 25th February

It was a cold bright day at Butts Park and the BBC cameras were in place to stream the Bears first ever home Challenge Cup round three tie to a vastly bigger audience than has ever watched these two sides before, and who represent very different aspects of the game.

Distington, the long established amateur side from the Cumbrian Heartland of the game, had a 460 mile round trip and entered as underdogs.

This meant that Coventry Bears were playing in the unaccustomed role of Goliath facing up to David.

The Bears kicked off and were soon on the offensive, and were soon showing inventiveness in attack, with an incisive kick by Ben Stead cutting the Distington defence, but the away side soon recovered.

The Cumbrians continued to defend well, forcing Chapman into touch, and were soon on the offensive themselves.

Distington’s Kieran Richie came close, but their first points were to come from a penalty as Clayton Sutton put the Cumbrian side into the lead

The game was close and tense with little between the sides. The Bears were next to gain a penalty close in but chose to run with the ball, a decision proved correct as Harry Chapman crossed the line and Ben Stead converted to put the League 1 side 6-2 up.

The two sides still appeared evenly matched, and following a kick which Dante Morley-Samuels couldn’t hold, Gregory Bedford sprinted to the try line, and Suttons conversion made it 6-8 in favour of Distington.

Coventry’s attacking flair came to the rescue as Jason Bass snatched back the lead having caught a superb Emanuellili kick..

Stead was the instigator of the Bears next score with a kick fumbled in the corner, allowing Jason Bass an easy chance. Stead’s conversion put the score at 18-8 for half time.


The second half started with both teams still believing they could win, and Distington played a long ball into the corner which was uncharacteristically fumbled by Harry Chapman on the line allowing Bedford to get four points for the visitors. The conversion fell short, but there was now just six points between the sides.

A period of prolonged attack finally paid dividends for the Bears as Chris Barratt crossed over, followed two minutes later by Lewis Lord. The two conversions gave the hosts a 30-12 lead.

With a quarter of an hour left, Hayden Freeman was the final recipient of a string of passes. And Stead was yet again successful with the conversion.

The game was now over but Harry Chapman scored one more time for the Bears and the conversion sealed it at 42-12


Distington’s Head Coach Carl Hewer was proud of his side, ‘for long spells we were equals’ he told us ’but Coventry deserved the win’ he freely acknowledged.

Tom Tsang Bears Head coach was pleased with the way his side dealt with potentially tricky opposition, ‘I am delighted we are through to the fourth round for the first time in our history, yet another milestone for the club, and lets hope we get a good draw! But we now have to focus on the league again, and next week’s opponents are a very strong side, so there’s a few things we will be working on in the light of today’s game’

Next game Sunday 4th March 3pm kick off at the Butts Park Arena v York City Knights








  1 Harry Chapman 

  2 Hayden Freemanb

  3 Dante Morley Samuels

  4 Jason Bass

  5 Errol Carter

  6 Paul Emanuelli

  7 Ben Stead

  8 Dan Gover

  9 Lewis Lord

10 Callum Bradbury

11 Kieran Sherratt

12 Chris Barratt

13 Chris Vitalini

Subs (all used)

15 Lewis Russell

16 Harry Kaufman

19 James Guertjens

18 John Aldred


Tries: Chapman (13,75) Bass (35, 38) Barratt (54) Lord(63) Freeman (64)

Goals: Stead  7/7







  1 Steven Conway

  2 Gregory Bedford

  3 Liam Friel

  4 Gavin Martin

  5 Ryan Hodgson

  6 Clayton Sutton

  7 Sean Sutton

  8 Bryan Ritchie

  9 Jamie Friel

10 Carl Stephenson

11 Grant Dryden

12 Kieran Ritchie

13Subs (all used)

14 Matthew Hewer

15 Shaun Adams

16 Liam McNichols

17 Stephen Clarke


Tries: Bedford (25,42)

Goals:Sutton 2/3

Man of the Match: Ben Stead

Penalty count: 11-12

Half-time: 18-8

Referee: C Worsley

Attendance: 267

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-2, 6-2, 6-8,121-8,18-8;   18-12, 24-12, 30-12, 36-12, 42-12

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