Hunslet Match Report
by Mike Hyde
2nd July, South Leeds Stadium
Bears fade in second half against Hunslet
Hunslet 56 Coventry Bears 24
Coventry Bears went to Hunslet for thesecond time in four months looking to avenge, and certainly improve on the 34-0 thrashing they suffered as they exited the cup back in February.
This time the margin was 32 points, but beneath that lies a performance and story which sums up so much of the Bears season so far.
There were debut appearances for Jordan Gale and Luke Frixou as the Bears took to the field in the South Leeds Stadium.
Hunslet were determined to do well as they press for a secure place in the playoffs, and after three sets in a row were over the line with ten minutes gone.
Ten minutes later they were over again making it 12-0. This seemed to galvanise the Bears and JamahlHunte scored a stunning try and Brad Delaney converted.
Alex Beddows then crossed for another converted try and the sides were now drawing 12 apiece.
But Hunslet rapidly regained the ascendency, and put two tries past the Bears in reply before the half time hooter, one scored by ex-Bear Tommy Brierley.
Half time 20-12
If the game was evenly balanced in the first half, a few minutes later it seemed like the pendulum had swung towards the Bears as JamahlHunte crashed over for his second try of the afternoon, with the score now at 20-18.
That was to prove a high water mark for Coventry, being just two points adrift with half an hour to go, because Hunsletstepped up a gear with two more tries to effectively kill off any chance of a Bears comeback.
James Guertjens did manage to pull back with a try, making it 32-24, but the last ten minutes saw the home side run riot, scoring four more tries to give a scoreline which masked the fact that the Bears had been highly competitive for a good sixty minutes of the game.
Tom Tsang, Bears Head Coach, gave his thoughts;
‘’I have mixed feelings about this one, as we entered the game pretty beaten up after recent tough matches - we only had 17 fit players to select from,including two players we signed this week; Luke and Jordan,who both slotted in nicely and will be good additions to the squad.
It was always going to be a tough ask to travel to Hunslet, but as ever we were confident we could cause them problems if we stayed composed and stuck to our structures and for 50 minutes or so that happened.
We flagged a bit in the second half and gave them way too much cheap possession with naive penalties which meant an unbalanced amount of defending for us to do. That weight of possession against us told and we let in some pretty soft tries in the end.
It really did sum up our season, as we showed we could compete for long stretches of the game, but our own ill-discipline was our undoing. The positive side is that these penalties come from inexperience - something that we can hopefully overcome the more games we play together as a unit.
Unfortunately, injuries to Billy Gaylor, Mikey Russell and Alex Beddows will again leave us down to the 'bare-bones' of a squad for the Newcastle trip.’’
Next week, the Bears are on their travels again, travelling to in-form Newcastle Thunder, before returning to Butts Park on the 16th July to take on North Wales Crusaders.