Coventry Bears Rugby League
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Skolars Match Report

Bears dominate, but lose out
in close encounter.


Mike Hyde, Butts Park arena, Sunday

The away side finally triumphed in a close encounter where the game ebbed and flowed in favour of both teams. It was two tries near the end which finally put paid to the hopes of a Bears side which had dominated for long periods of the match. The Skolars had started strongly, soon probing the Bears defence and within just four minutes,
hooker Billy Driver crossed over from close range, and Neil Thorman easily converted.
Coventry were quick to regain their composure and were pressing for a reply which came their way just six minutes later as the red mop of Dante Morley Samuels was on the end of a string of passes and he crossed over to the delight of the home crowd. The conversion was not forthcoming but already this had all the hallmarks of a close game.
In a swift reply, the Skolars then extended their lead to 4-12 courtesy of Lamont Bryan over on the left and Thorman again adding the conversion. The Bears fought back in typical Bears fashion and another flowing move again put the ball across to Dante Morley-Samuels on the far right who then passed it inside for Kam Pearce-Paul to scoop up and complete the move, with Ben Stead making no mistake with the conversion.
A similarly fast and flowing move gave the Bears a half time lead, with Hayden Freeman scoring a try which Stead was unable to convert. At this stage all was going to plan, with the Bears noticeably faster and more confident and creative than their opponents. The Bears continued looking stronger at the start of the second half, and it was Dante Morley-Samuels who extended the home side’s lead to six points. However, further Bears pressure proved to be in vain as they failed to convert possession into points despite two or three good chances which would have sewn the game up.
And then Skolars’ Thorman put his name on the scoresheet again as he powered over near the sticks and went on to convert his own try, levelling the teams at 18-18
Another spell of Bears pressure then followed, but no try was forthcoming, and, rather tellingly, Ben Stead took the option of kicking for goal to regain the lead for the Bears 20-18, as the game entered a rather scrappy and at times bad-tempered phase. Errors, fouls and penalties took over from tries and goals. Now Rugby League is a rough, tough game but it is not that often that a player is seen obviously hitting another, and rarer still that the blow is heard. But the mighty ‘thwack’ that hit Jason Bass shortly after a tackle high to his head could be heard by all in the stand. Even more shocking to Bears fans was the lack of red, or even yellow card which followed.

In the end, it was the Skolars, not the Bears, who were able to summon up the extra strength
needed in the final quarter of an hour as Vinnie Finigan regained the lead for the away side with a well taken try.
His team mate Ryan Chester followed him over the try line four minutes later, and as the second was converted there was now an eight-point margin in favour of the away side and that is how it ended, much to the disappointment and even anger of the Bears fans.
Speaking after the game, Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang did not hide his disappointment;
‘for fifty minutes, all went according to plan, we played the ball out to the wings, away from the Skolars’ big guys in the middle. But then in the second half we had enough chances to seal it, but we didn’t. And then it got scrappy as we gave the ball away, either accidentally or giving away a penalty, and that happened ten times and it cost us dearly as Skolars then got those two tries. Our lads can certainly play and if they could just do it for a full 80 minutes, more results would surely come our way’


1 Jason Bass
2 Dante Morley Samuels
20 Kam Pearce-Paul
4 Jason Bass
5 Hayden Freeman
6 Paul Emanuelli
7 Ben Stead
8 JoelThomas
9 LewisLord
10 Chris Vitalin
11 Ben Gray
12 James Mason
13 Zac Williams
Subs (all used)
14 Liam Rice-Wilson
16 Ashley Bateman
17 James Guertjens
18 Dan Gover

Tries: Morley-Samuels (10,43), Pierce-Paul (24) Freeman (30)
Goals: Stead 3/5

1 Elliot Hall
2 Vinnie Finigan
4 Michael Brown
3 Quinn Ngawiti
5 Jerome Yates
6 Jy Mel Coleman
7 Neil Thorman
8 Michael Sykes
9 Billy Driver
10 Will Martin
22 Sam Nash
12 Lamont Bryan
13 Ryan Chester
Subs (all used)
25 Charlie Lawrence
14 Eddie Mbaraga
20 Ollie Purslow
11 Jordan Williams
Tries: Driver [4], Bryan [19], Thorman [48], Finigan[68], Chester [72]
Goals: Thorman 4/5

Penalty count: 11-9
Half-time: 14-12
Referee: S Race
Attendance: 266
SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 4-6, 4-12, 10-12, 14-12; 18-12, 18-18, 20-18, 20-22, 20-28

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