BEARS STUN STAGS BUT ITS NOT QUITE ENOUGH
COVENTRY BEARS 22 HEMEL STAGS 28
Pre-season warmup match
Butts Park Arena, Saturday February 14th, 2.30pm ko
by Ian Henshaw
Coventry Bears took to the field in their first game as a semi-pro club and at the end of it they can feel proud of what they have achieved so far, they certainly pressed Hemel all the way and could easily have come away with the win Bears Coach Tom Tsang said “I’m proud of the way we played today and our fitness work has clearly paid off!. Hemel's Coach Troy Perkins said "I think we were lucky to win really, Coventry outplayed us but to our credit we dug deep and kept on top"
Hemel were the first to score, Coventry kicked high at the end of their first set, Full back Derrell Olpherts caught the ball before setting off on a run from his 20 metre line, swerving around two men then passed inside to the supporting Woodburn-Hall who finished. The Bears were not overawed though and two minutes later a ball out to the left found Jamahl Hunte who crossed and went round under the posts making the conversion easy for Steve Coleman.
Olpherts was causing real problems for the Bears with his speed and changes of direction and following one of these runs M'Baraga thought he had scored but was adjudged to have knocked on while grounding the ball. Hemel did regain the lead just after with a second try for ex London Bronco Woodburn-Hall who intercepted a wayward Coventry pass on his own 20 metre line and ran on through the posts. Swindells kicking the first of his four conversions.
It was nip and tuck now as first Cameron Boulter went over with ease for Coventry and then Jermaine Coleman pounced on a clever grubber kick from Lawrence.
It was Coventry who went into the break in front, the impressive Jamahl Hunte was held up over the line but as the hooter sounded the ball went across the pitch for Eddie Medforth to go in on the right, Stephen Coleman made the difficult conversion for a two point interval lead. At 18 to 16 to the Bears.
Coventry were straight on the attack in the second half and it took a Jermaine Coleman try saving tackle to save Hemel before some magic footwork brought a brace of tries for Olpherts, his class at this level clear, and Hemel seemed to have the game won but Jamahl Hunte scored again for Coventry with 8 minutes to go, Winfield not making the kick. When Hunte went over again on the hooter a draw looked on but in his eagerness to go nearer the posts he put his foot over the dead ball line! Hemel considering themselves lucky with the win.
Coventry Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang commented:
"As a first hit out of the season, with a brand new squad and many of the team playing at this level for the first time I thought it was a very positive day.
We created 8 or 9 opportunities to score but finished less than half of our clear-cut chances. I’m confident that in season with a few more games under our belt and bit more composure we would have converted the majority of those opportunities into points.
There were some issues in defence, but we made several interchanges throughout the match which doesn’t help a defensive unit. There were also some tired bodies out there, but it was our first full game this season so that’s to be expected.
It would have been nice to get a win but it was more about process and performance than the result. We've set ourselves a decent benchmark to work off next Sunday in our game against the University of Gloucester All Gold’s."
1.Troy Brophy, 2.Jamahl Hunte, 3.Eddie Medforth, 4.Stephen Coleman, 5.Josh Bell 6.Cameron Boulter 7.Billy Sheen 8.Ben Tyers 9.Jake Pratley 10.Matt Cooper, 11.Liam Thompson, 12.Chris Barratt 13.Alex Calvert.
Subs: James Geurtjens, Robert Meadows, Andy McGrory, Callum Wishart, Dave Oconnor, Alex Beddows, John Aldred, Liam Scott, Dan Poulton, Andy Winfield.
Trys: Cameron Boulter, Jamahl Hunte 2, Eddie Medforth,
Goals: Stephen Coleman 3
Bears Man of the Match: Cameron Boulter
1. Derrell Olpherts , 2.Frank Mayfield, 3.James Woodburn-Hall, 4.Michael Brown, 5.Alex Anthony, 6.Jermaine Coleman, 7.Charlie Lawrence, 8. Rob Thomas, 9.James Helliwell, 10. 11.Aiden Pritchard, 12.Alex Ingarfield, 13.B J Swindells,
Subs: James Howitt, Jonny Bell,Lewis Reed, Tom Sadler, Jason Long, Malakai Lloyd-Jones, Eddie M'Baraga, Ash Fyson, Victor Coker,Connor Boyd-Barnes.
Tries: Woodburn-Hall 2, Coleman, Olpherts 2
Goals: Swindells 4/5, Hemel Stags,
Stags Man of the Match: Derrell Olpherts
University of Gloucester All Golds Away
Prince of Wales Stadium Cheltenham, Sunday 22nd Feb, 3pm ko