Here we go again, and again!
Mike Hyde previews this weeks Shield game versus Hunslet.
For the third time this season, Coventry Bears are playing Hunslet away from home at the South Leeds Stadium.
This strange coincidence has come about because at the beginning of the season the Bears were drawn away to the Leeds based outfit in the cup.
Then our regular season fixture against them was also away from home and now, at the business end of the season, Coventry Bears’ first game in the League 1 Shield also happens to be at Hunslet.
There is also another unwelcome coincidence in that each of the previous encounters was won by Hunslet with a 34 point margin.
In February, the Bears were nowhere near being a cohesive unit and were easily beaten 34-0.
In the League encounter earlier this month the margin was the same, but the result was 56-24 with the now familiar Bears story of competing for most of the game, attacking well, but being let down by a poor twenty minute spell characterised by ineffective defending.
But here we go yet again, third time lucky?
Hunslet, a proud Northern team with a strong heritage will not enjoy being in the company of newer teams such as the Bears, Gloucestershire, Oxford and Hemel, and they will be determined to win the shield for their dedicated and loyal supporters.
Meanwhile, Bears’ CEO Alan Robinson has signalled a clear intent to move up a level, first signing Luke Frixou, then swooping for the Welsh pair of Zac Williams and Paul Emanuelli, together with three young players on loan from Super League chasing London Broncos.
The Bears’ two student Internationals Kieran Sherratt and Jason Bass should also feature as should powerhouse prop Brad Brennan, on extended loan from Barrow.
If as individuals, they all play as well as they are able and Head Coach Tom Tsang can mould them into a team, then the Bears will be serious contenders on Sunday before returning to Butts Park the following Sunday to take on arch rivals Hemel Stags.