Newcastle Match Report
Well-backed Thunder prevail over the Bears.
Newcastle Thunder 88 Coventry Bears 6
Sunday, Newcastle. Mike Hyde
Promotion chasing Newcastle Thunder confirmed their credentials as the top ‘expansion’ side in League 1 as they racked up sixteen tries on Sunday afternoon.
With the able and active support of a millionaire, and an increasingly professional approach to running their operation, they literally looked in a different league to community based, volunteer run Coventry Bears.
In the early stages of this season, promotion favourites Newcastle had come down to the Butts Park Arena and were unexpectedly beaten 32-28 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Despite that setback, Thunder have gone on to record a string of victories, going from strength to strength, and as the season approaches its end are still among the favourites to go up in the play-offs.
So, the Bears set off up the M1 and A1 to face a team outside the traditional Heartlands but doing all the right things on and off the field.
The home side started strong, pressing the Bears hard, but unable to break through their defence.
Then the Bears stunned the home crowd by taking the lead as Jack Ray crashed over and Elliott Hall converted to give a 0-6 lead.
That was to prove a high watermark for the Bears as Thunder turned up the pressure with a ten minute, four try blitz which gave them a 24-6 lead after their shaky start.
The pressure continued as Thunder doubled their score to put them into a 48-6 lead at half time.
The onslaught eased as the second half started and to their credit the Bears defended well and even threatened to score.
However, the game was already won, and the Thunder try machine shifted a gear with two Newcastle players Lewis Young and Kieran Gill both scoring hat tricks.
The scoreboard relentlessly recorded the points haul until it hit 88, a club record for Thunder.
And the final agony came for the Bears as former player Nick Newman, who made his English RL debut with the Bears, scored the final try for his new team as they set the seal on their promotion bid.
There are no league fixtures this weekend due to the Wembley RL Challenge Cup Final, but the Bears hope to end on a higher note with two home fixtures to be played at Webb Ellis road, Rugby.