Coventry Bears V Newcastle Thunder Match Report
COVENTRY BEARS 14 NEWCASTLE THUNDER 32
Saturday afternoon in Coventry saw a mid table clash between Newcastle Thunder and hosts Coventry Bears with both sides looking to push towards the top eight in the final stages of the round robin phase of League One.
If last years meeting between the sides in Newcastle, coupled with current form, would be anything to go by the game looked set to be a toss of a coin between who would come away with the points.
The hosts started brightly as they looked to get joy out of the Thunders left edge defence. And it would be that side that the Bears would exploit to gain the opening score of the game. A strong carry from prop Alex Beddows followed by a quick play the ball gave James Redman the opportunity to put Grant Beecham through a hole in the defence to give the Bears an early lead.
However, this lead would not last long as Thunder were determined to respond and their forward pack led the way as they pushed into Bears territory. Some quick thinking from Newcastle spotted numbers on the left and they put Peter Fox in at the corner to level the game.
What followed was a score for score battle as both sides fought for control in the game.
First up would be the Bears who send classy fullback Charlie O’Mara over to make the score 10-4 half way through the first period.
Newcastle responded just five minutes later when replacement hooker Evan Simmons exploited a gap in the defence to level it up. Then it would be back to the Midlands side to respond and they did so through Eddie Medforth who continued his try scoring exploits on the right edge.
With minutes to go in the half replacement prop Vincent Rennie made the most of what appeared to be a Thunder knock on when he touched the ball down in the Bears try zone. Referee John McMullen awarded the try putting the visitors 16-14 up at the break.
The second half saw the Tyneside club come out firing and with just two minutes gone they extended their lead through winger Ali Blair. The Bears woes continued as captain Richie Hughes and back rower Joe Batchelor both picked up injuries which would rule them out for the remainder of the game.
Despite having their backs against the wall the Bears defended bravely. However, ill discipline would cost them when they were reduced to 12 men after Beddows was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Even with an extra man Newcastle struggled to break down the hosts stubborn defence. However, they were given an added incentive when the Coventry side were reduced to 11 men as hooker Jay Lobwein was also sent to the bin.
With two men down the Bears would need another mammoth defensive effort to keep the visitors to within one score. However, they failed to do so as former Bear Dan Parker saw off the challenge of three defenders to touch down. Despite being down the Bears continued to fight and they looked to get back in touching distance but the clock was against them.
In the end a last minute Fox score would put a cap on the Newcastle win leaving the score at 31-14 to the visitors.
Thunder move a step closer to the top eight with the win while the Bears hopes of joining them look quite slim with only two games left to play before the league splits.
Vincent Rennie’s try on half time proved vital as it seemed to deflate the hosts and gave Newcastle the impetus to kick on and go for the victory.
Thunder replacement Derrell Olpherts proved a handful when he came on and was a key to his sides win.
1 Charlie O’Mara
2 Jason Bass
3 Matt Reid
21 Eddie Medforth
5 Jono Miliszewski
6 Joel James
7 James Redman
8 Alex Beddows
9 Jay Lowbein
10 Jack Morrison
11 Liam Thompson
12 Grant Beecham
25 Richie Hughes
Subs (all used)
13 Chris Barratt
14 Danny Price
16 Joe Batchelor
19 Trae O’Sullivan
Tries: Beecham (10), O’Mara (22), Medforth (30)
Goals: James (1/3)
1 Tom Reudiger
2 Ali Blair
3 Dan Parker
4 Joe Brown
5 Peter Fox
6 Lewis Young
7 Benn Hardcastle
17 Mikey Wood
9 Aaron Teroi
12 Corbyn Kilday
11 Harry Aldous
10 Rhys Clarke
13 Kevin Larroyer
Subs (all used)
14 Evan Simmons
15 Derrell Olpherts
16 Sam Luckley
8 Vincent Rennie
Tries: Fox (16,80), Simmons (27) Rennie (40), Blair (42), Parker (66)
Goals: Hardcastle (4/6)
Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match
Bears: Jack Morrison
Newcastle: Darrell Olpherts
Penalty count: 9-8
Referee: John McMullen
SCORING SEQUENCE: 4-0,4-4,10-4, 10-10, 14-10, 14-16, 14-20, 14-26, 14-32