Hornets Sting Bears With Second Half Flurry
Coventry Bears fell to Rochdale Hornets on Sunday despite a dominant first half preformance which saw them bag three tries.
The Bears got off to a flying start as they kept the home side pinned in their own half for the opening ten minutes of the game. A much improved kicking game under pinned the forwards hardwork and gave the visitors good field position.
It didn’t take long for them to capitalise on the dominance as the returning Simon Phillips crashed over the line to open the scoring.
Despite the Bears dominance the hosts fought back and after some indiscretion from the travelling side they grabbed their first try through Lee Crook and took the lead against the run of play.
This didn’t hinder the Bears enthusiasm in defence and attack as they would go straight back at the Hornets.
However, a loose pass handed Rochdale possesion and they punished their opponents by grabbing a try through Danny Bridge in the next set.
A response was needed from the Bears as they found themselves eight points down despite ahving the better of the play.
The Bears response would come off the back of a rare Rochdale error as they made the most of a poor kick. Hooker Richie Hughes darted close to the line to bring the score back to 12-8.
In the next set the Bears took the lead for the second time in the game when Matt Cooper reacted quickest to a grudder kick to touch down.
Following the try the Bears continued to pressure Rochdale as they looked to extend their lead. However, in the final play of the half Matty Haggerty grabbed a try to put his side back in front.
Rochdale took an 18-14 lead into the break.
In the second half the Bears came out looking to erase the four point gap and they quickly cut it to two when Dan Parker slotted over a penalty kick.
Rochdale were under pressure as the crowd grew restless but they mangaged to grab the first try of the half when Crook got his second of the game.
Again the Bears responded in a positive manner as they forced their opponents to defend five straight sets. However, a forward pass gave possesion back to Hornets.
It was a this point there was a big swing in momentum when a questionable penalty was granted to Rochdale they made the most of it.
Danny Jones grabbed a try to give his side a 30-16 lead. Three tries would follow as the Bears discipline let them down and forced them to defend ten straight sets.
In this period Rochdale bagged twenty two points to put them out of reach of the Midlands side.
Cooper did grab a second try , however, it was in vain as his side conceded in the closing minutes leaving the final score at 50-22.
Speaking after the game Head Coach Tom Tsang said: “It was a disappointing end to the game as we competed for the first 60 minutes and were arguably the better side for large parts of the fixture. But we went through a period where we had a few injuries in our backline which forced us to reshuffle positions and Rochdale showed their class and really turned it on when it counted. There are a lot of positives to carry forward to next week against Hemel. We created a lot of opportunities and were good enough to score points against a top side. The upcoming game against the Stags is probably the most important match of the season given the context of our standing in the league. If we win we can push ahead of Oxford and Gloucestershire so we will be doing everything in our power to make sure we get the job done on Sunday.”
Wayne English, Gaz Langley, Lee Paterson, Dave Hull, Dale Bloomfield, Ryan Smith, Danny Yates, Danny Jones, Paul Crook, Warren Thompson, Jordan Case, Danny Bridge, Lewis Charnock Subs: Matty Haggerty, Matty Fozard, Alex McClurg, James Tilley
Tries: Crook (12, 46, 66), Bridge (17), Haggarty (40), Jones (55), Case (58), Hull (63), Bloomfield (77)
Goals: Crook 7/9
Andy Winfield, Jamahl Hunte, Nick Taylor, Simon Phillips, Jason Bass, Joel James, Dan Parker, Jack Morrison, Richie Hughes, Jack Francis, Liam Thompson, Chris Barratt, Matt Cooper Subs: James Geurtjens, Stephen Coleman, Tom Hall, Dylan Bale
Tries: Phillips (5), Hughes (24), Cooper (28, 72)
Goals: Parker 3/5