Bears scare mighty York
COVENTRY BEARS 18 YORK CITY KNIGHTS 58
Mike Hyde, Butts Park Arena, Saturday
There have been some very lop-sided scorelines in League 1 over the last few weeks and after the Knights record breaking 144-0 win against West Wales Raiders, and our own recent heavy losses against Bradford, Widnes and Keighley, some Bears fans feared this might be an uneven contest.
However, the Bears had their opponents on the rack for a large portion of the first half only to fade in the second.
It only took York three minutes to get over the line as prop Adam Robinson muscled his way over the line and Connor Robinson gave an early display of his ruthless converting.
In a foretaste of what was to come, the Bears Ben Stead placed a kick for JamahlHunte to almost get a try for the home side. The Bears had rediscovered their attacking flair.
York responded by stepping up the pressure and following a clever dummy which fooled the Bears defenders, WilliamJubb added the Knights second after eight minutes, which was again converted.
Just four minutes later it was Tim Spears’ turn to crash over, with the extras again being added with ease.
At this point, a cricket score looked possible, but on another attack, the Knights lost the ball, which was gratefully accepted by Jacob Ogden on his Bears debut, who then went on to run over half the length of the pitch for the Bears first try. Ben Stead stepped forward for his first conversion.
York were now rather nervous, dropping the ball land conceding penalties, and Richie Hughes capitalised on this with a typical hooker’s try from close in. Stead again converted and was instrumental in the Bears’ third try. His well-placed 40-20 kick provided the opening for another debutant, Peter Ryan toscore a try and the conversion levelledthings at 18-18 on the half hour mark.
However, in their eagerness the Bears gave the ball away just a few yards out from their line and Daniel Hawksworth’s try and C Robinson’s fourth conversion gave the away team a six-point cushion at half time.
The second half had a very different complexion as Ronan Dixon used brute strength to score another for the Knights, which was again converted.
C Robinson showed there was more than conversions in his kicking repertoire as he kicked over to the left wing for Ash Robson to pluck the ball out of the air and place it beyond the try-line.
Judah Mazave was next to cross over as York inexorably increased their score.
And then Joe Batchelor, a former Bears player, scored the first of his two tries as he shrugged off two tired defenders,with his second coming from a large overlap as the Bears defence was ripped apart.
The last Knights player to put his name on the scoresheet was Bradley Hey, and C Robinson added his ninth conversion of the afternoon.
The Bears came close to a consolation courtesy of Pearce-Paul and Hunte neatly linking on the right wing, but it wasn’t to be, but a heavy defeat had been well and truly avoided.
Confidence had returned and the fans went away pleased with the performance.
Roll on the Workington game next week.
Speaking after the match, Tom Tsang saw positives in his team’s performance, following the previous week’s heavy loss.
‘We had a lot of honest conversations this week and had to make some tough decisions with selection.
The first half of the match we really demonstrated what we are capable of and what we can be as a team.
We were tough in the middle, had good shape in attack and threatened at every opportunity.
Unfortunately, in the second half, York’s strength came to the fore and they showed why they are at top of the league.
Ultimately we lost the game due to the number of penalties and we couldn’t handle the defensive pressure.’
Tom added: 'Today's Man of the Match was Peter Ryan. Over 65 minutes at Prop on debut, dominant in defence and scored a great try. Well done Peter!'
1 Jason Bass
4 Jacob Ogden
5 Hayden Freeman
7 Ben Stead
9 Richie Hughes
11 Ashley Bateman
12 Ben Gray
Subs (all used)
14 Lewis Lord
Tries: Ogden(15), Hughes (25) Ryan (29)
Goals: Stead 3/3
1 Ashley Robinson
27 Liam Jackson
8 Adam Robinson
15 Christopher Siddons
19 Michael Kelly
12 Sam Scott
Subs (all used)
26 Daniel Hawksworth
37 Daniel Maskill
16 Ronan Dixon
17 Joseph Porter
Tries:A Robinson (3), Jubb (8), Spears (12), Hawksworth(36),Dixon (47),Robson (52) Mazive (56),Batchelor (64,67),Hey (74)
Penalty count: 11-9
Referee: B Robinson
SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 0-12,0-18, 6-18, 12-18,18-18,18-24; 18-30, 18-36, 18-40, 18-46, 18-52, 18-58