Coventry Bears to play New York next season?
London on Good Friday, next year New York?
By Mike Hyde
After what seems an eternity, Coventry Bears will be playing their third home game of the season on Good Friday, kick off 3pm at the Butts Park Arena.
An early exit from the cup in Doncaster, the postponement of the home game against Workington, and the general quirkiness of the fixtures have all conspired to create a two month gap between games for home followers of the Bears.
But the good news is that the Bears won their first two home games and are now looking for a third win in a row, against London Skolars.
The last game between the two sides was in London last July and the Bears emerged victorious 20-24. The last game between the two in Coventry saw the away side win.
The two sides are adjacent to each other in the League 1 table; Skolars 7th and Bears 8th, and there is a rivalry between the teams, both being outposts of the game in the Southern half of the country, with the Skolars representing London, and our Bears being the pride of the Midlands.
Mention ‘Rugby League’ to the average sports fan and their perception may still be that this is a game of the North of England, indeed this is still very much the Heartlands of the game, along with Australia, New Zealand and Southern France.
But this is a great game and deserves a bigger audience, and the game is taking root in a number of countries such as Serbia.
Bears fans may well remember the team travelling to Canada to play the fledgling Toronto Wolfpack, who are now knocking on the doors of Super League, along with Toulouse Olympique..
Well that is proving not to be a flash in the pan, as a team from Ottowa [Canada] are applying to join the Rugby League structure next year as is a team from New York, and that is NEW York, not that rather nice Yorkshire city whose team is also doing well.
So from being almost a guarded secret, which spread to London in the 80s, and to the Midlands as an amateur sport around the same time, the game is going transatlantic with a vengeance.
Bears and Skolars fans will no doubt applaud this expansion, and Bears owner Alan Robinson who attended a meeting last week on the subject commented;
‘I am very supportive of both Ottowa and New York, both different but impressive presentations. I hope everyone can see the bigger picture with the investment they are making in Rugby League for the future. Its an opportunity for us all we need to embrace’
All this means that Good Friday’s game soon wont be seen as a clash between far flung outposts, but as a local derby!!
Coventry Bears v London Skolars, Butts Park Arena Coventry, Good Friday 3 pm kick off.