Bears undaunted by Bulls defeat
Bradford Bulls 52 Coventry Bears 6
Expectations for the Bears first ever visit to Odsall Stadium were never high; Bradford Bulls are one of the great names in Rugby League and have a big following. After Sunday’s game they are joint top of League 1 and look a very safe bet for promotional ready.
However, this was all about gaining experience for a Bears side comprised of Midlands based players, bolstered by a trio of Welshmen, taking on some of the best players from across Rugby League’s heartlands.
A crowd of over 3,500 was the second highest to see the Bears in action as the game kicked off.
The Bulls were in no mood to go easy on their latest opposition, having unexpectedly lost the previous week at Workington.
Within four minutes, Bulls’ Liam Johnson was over the line for the first try of the afternoon.
The Bears fought back, but Bradford added another on ten minutes, and then some flowing moves with accurate passing left the Bears reeling as their defence was breached a third time.
But, as on many occasions, the Bears would not give in, and were rewarded with a try by Harry Chapman with half an hour gone, and Ben Stead extended the score to put it at a very respectable 16-6, with the Bears still very much in contention.
That was to prove a high-water mark for the visitors, as Bradford replied twice to put the half-time score at 28-6.
The relentless pressure from Bradford Bulls continued in the second half with another try two minutes after the restart.
However, the Bears still refused to buckle under and responded with some good moves, but not enough to breach the strong Bulls defence.
Meanwhile, the Bulls in attack slowly but surely built up the points total as the Bears began to tire.
The final score of 52-6 was not the whitewash some may have expected, and other teams will suffer bigger points deficits against the Bulls this season in League 1.
It will be interesting to see how the Bears improve for the home fixture against the Bulls in June.
But for the young and still developing Bears team, this was a good learning experience prior to yet another big game next Saturday, when the Bears travel to Super League Widnes for a Fifth Round Challenge Cup clash.