Brave Bears defeated by Barrow
Bears brave display against promotion favourite's
Coventry Bears 14 Barrow Raiders 50
Report by Mike Hyde and Photograph by Harry James
To have a half century scored against you can be disheartening, but against the League’s promotion favourites, this was certainly no disgrace. The Bears fans left the ground optimistic about the season ahead, none more so than the Bears’ President Ron Banks who comes from Barrow and always dreamt his old team would one day play in Coventry.
The Bears kicked off in their first home game of the season against a powerful and physical Barrow side.
The two teams tested each other in the opening few minutes, but with just five minutes on the clock, Barrows Jarred Stock cut through the home defence, for a try converted by Charnock, his first of seven.
Barrow had a few sloppy minutes which almost cost them dearly, whether this was the fault of the long journey or a lack of concentration was immaterial as Coventry edged back into the game. Bears’ Billy Gaylor did his best to split the away defence, but Barrow’s strong tackling prevented any points being put on the board. Nevertheless it showed that Coventry were not going to be a walkover.
After a quarter of an hour, it was Raiders’ Luke Cresswell who crossed over wide on the right flank after some good offloading and passing work, and again it was converted to put the score at 0-12.
A couple of minutes later, Nathan Mossop ran past six Bears players, who seemed unable to tackle as he wove his way through to score Barrow’s third try.. The score now stood at 0-18, and that scoring rate od a point a minute seemed like we might be seeing a cricket score.
However, there then followed a period when Coventry Bears were the equal of Barrow, and on the 32nd minute, Hayden Freeman pulled the score back to 4-18, and after the conversion it was 6-18. Could a comeback be on the cards?
The answer sadly was ‘no’ as Barrow responded with a try and conversion giving an 18 point margin as the half time hooter blew.
Half Time Coventry Bears 6 Barrow Raiders 24
Seven minutes into the second half, Bears’ Chris Barratt pulled the score back to 10-24. This was a fitting tribute on the day he became the first ever Bears player to play fifty games, and he received some sporting applause and was later awarded Coventry’s Man of the Match award.
This margin only lasted three minutes as Barrow powered over in response, effectively ending the home sides at times stubborn resistance.
Luke Cresswell scored again for the Raiders and this was duly converted putting the score at 10-40.
Coventry to their credit did not give in and matched the Raiders with some good moves, especially some creative play from Brad Delaney which almost resulted in a try, but Matt Reid narrowly failed to gather the ball and the initiative passed back to Barrow.
The superior skill, fitness and sheer power of promotion contenders Barrow prevailed, with further tries and Raiders hitting the half century against a dogged Coventry side who refused to give in
With two minute to go, Mikey Russel pulled back a consolation try for the Bears, but it really was all over by then.
Tom Tsang, Bears Head Coach reflected after the match;
‘’We knew today was always going to be difficult to get any points from - Barrow are a clear promotion favourite and they were just outstanding today. That performance from them was on a par with when we played Toulouse last year with the speed and power from every one of their players.
To my lads’ credit they never gave in and we were actually better in some areas today, especially with our ball movement and how we attacked, but we couldn’t contain them in defence and didn’t have an even share of possession.
All focus is now on the Skolars away match in 2 weeks which is shaping up to be a huge game for us to kick start our season.’’
Full time Coventry Bears 14 Barrow Raiders 50
1 Will Roper
2 Hayden Freeman
3 Jason Bass
4 Eddie Medforth
5 Mikey Russell
6 Joe Prior
7 Brett Delaney
8 Zach Johnson
9 Billy Gaylor
10 John Aldred 
11 Matt Reid 
12 Chris Garrett
13 Kieran Sherratt
14 Rob Meadows
15 James Geurtjens
16 Dan Gover
17 Jack Morrison all used
Coach Tom Tsang
Bears Man of the Match; Chris Barratt, try scorer and fiftieth appearance.
Tries Freeman Barrat Russel 
Conversions Delaney [1/2]
1 Ryan Fieldhouse
2 Shane Toal 
3 Declan Hulme
4 Andrew Litherland 
5 Luke Cresswell 
6 Jamie Dallimore
7 Lewis Charnock
8 Joseph Bullock
9 Nathan Mossop
10 Oliver Wilkes
11 Bradd Crelin 
12 Jarred Stack 
13 Martin Aspinwall
14 Dan Abram all used
15 James Duerden 
16 Andrew Dawson
17 Thomas Walker
Head Coach Paul Crarey
Official attendance was 447
Note for the diary:. Bears next home game is on Good Friday, 14th April, kick off 3 pm.