First half domination puts the Bears on course for victory
Hemel Stags 16 Coventry Bears 22
Match Report by Mike Hyde
The Bears gained their first points of the season with a hard-fought victory down in Hemel Hempstead.
Nears roared off the starting blocks and within four minutes signalled their intent as Errol Carter scored over on the right. Within minutes it was Dante Morley-Samuels opening his account with the help of Kieron Sherratt, and Ben Stead made no mistake with the conversion to make it 0-10.
Jason Bass was next to go on the scoresheet as he crossed over midway through the first half. Hemel then started to fight back but the Bears went in with a 16-0 lead thanks to some good defending. The Stags came out refreshed and were soon on the scoreboard pulling the margin back to ten points.
After some stout defending against a resurgent home side, Harry Chapman burrowed over and Ben Stead converted to put the scoreline at 6-22. The Stags were wounded, but by no means finished and scored again with just eight minutes left. A momentary Bears lapse let them over again, but the Bears hung on to emerge victorious 16-22.
Speaking after the match, Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang reflected:
‘We started off with good intensity and played with fast tempo which is what we needed. We raced out to a lead and at that point needed to stick to the plan but we started to go wide too early which let Hemel off the hook. That combined with some unforced errors meant we went in at halftime not as far ahead as we could have been. In the second half we made more errors and Hemel got their tails up.
We dominated the opening 30 minutes and that 3 try buffer was enough in the end.
In the second half we had defended 4 back to back sets before Ben Stead came up with an intercept and ran 50 meters which set us up for our last try which nudged us out of range.
Obviously, it’s great to get our first league win of the season. We also had 3 debutants in Liam Rice-Wilson, James Mason and Ben Gray. All worked extremely hard and contributed positively to our win.’
Bears Man of the match:
Ben Gray. In his first game for us he was tireless in defence and carried the ball strongly. With more game time he will only improve and will grow into a real leader of our pack.
Next game is the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Round 4 - Bears v Pilkington Recs. Buy your tickets here