Bears snatch victory from valiant Scorpions
Bears gain victory over SOUTH WALES
Coventry Bears 18 South Wales Scorpions 16
Butts Park Arena, Coventry Rugby
Saturday 9th July
The Bears weathered a good first half by South Wales to raise the bar in the second half and finish strong.
In an 18-12 defeat, Scorpions were 12-0 up at half-time and cruising, but then a sinbinning and some bad luck in front of the line and in front of goal, gave the game to the Bears.
A quick thinking intercept from Kristian Baller prevented an early Coventry try as they were hounding the Scorpions’ line following a penalty, while a diving tackle from Christiaan Roets on Jason Bass denied them a first score.
Scorpions were attacking well themselves as they looked for the first try but in the first ten minutes, poor handling prevented them from getting any further than 10 metres from the Bears’ line.
But from the final tackle of set, Paul Emanuelli’s high bomb confused the Bears’ defence and Jamie Murphy leapt to score under the sticks. Paul Emanuelli converted. 6-0 on 10 minutes.
They doubled the lead with a stunning second try. Courtney Davies kicked well and Billy Gaylor created his own gap weaving through the Bears’ defence. Emanuelli converted. 12-0 on 20 minutes.
They almost scored a third from another outstanding move. A tackle on Jamie Murphy looked to have been completed, but on the ground, he kicked for Roets but the Welsh international was beaten to the ball and Scorpions had to be content with winning a goal-line drop-out.
Meanwhile at the other end, a crunching tackle by Osian Phillips on Joel James caused the fellow Welsh junior international to drop the ball as he was near to scoring.
The major turning point of the game came five minutes into the second half. Roets was sinbinned for a high tackle and Scorpions were made to pay as Bears inspirational captain Richard Hughes went over from the next set. Joel James converted.
Bears’ heads were up and it wasn’t long before they levelled as Hughes again fought well to force his way over the line. James converted well.
From a penalty, Coventry took the lead for the first time just before the hour mark as Jack Morrison charged through a tiring Welsh defence. James converted again to make it 18-12.
As Roets limped off injured, Scorpions looked for a potentially equalising try. Anthony Symons held up over the line as he looked for a way through and Ian Newbury looked to be on a direct run to the try-line but pressure forced him to step into touch from a fantastic tackle by Bears Jason Bass who put his body on the line to make the hit.
Coventry could have completely sealed the match with eight minutes to go but Danny Price sliced a kickable penalty wide.
Scorpions made them pay as Coventry’s discipline cost them. Kristian Baller went over from dummy half. Emanuelli’s conversion hit the post and then horrifyingly fell the wrong side of the cross-bar.
Right to the end, the Scorpions were looking for a winning try. Keeping the ball alive after the final hooter, no-one was fast enough to get onto the end of Davies’ final chip kick and Bears scraped home.
There was a healthy crowd of 540 at the Butts Park Arena which was a great influence in motivating the Bears to victory.
Bears Alan Robinson commented:
We made hard work of the game in the first half with some errors and discipline with the ball. Scorpions played very well but it was very pleasing to see the team up the pace of the game in the second half and gain the win. It proves no games are easy and we had to show character to get back into the match when behind. I thought at times our defence was good and Scorpions asked plenty of questions. We now enter the second part of the season in a good position to go for some silverware and will take a well earned rest in the next two weeks. The coaching team will up the preparations for the second phase of the competition and we can't wait to get the dates in the diary and be as fresh as possible for the weekend of 23/24th July when we play again.
Fixture dates will be announced this Wednesday 13th July at 8am and we hope the city will get behind us in our quest for the League One Shield.
O'Mara, Bass, Miliszewski, Medforth, Reid, James, Price, Unsworth, Barratt, Thompson, Morrison, Lobwein, Beddows. Subs all used: O'Sullivan, Aldred, Hughes, Beecham.
Bears man of the match was captain Richie Hughes
Picture by David George.