Thunder down Bears
Newcastle Thunder 46 Coventry Bears 10
Kingston Park, Saturday 3rd September, 5pm
Newcastle Thunder extended their Kingstone Press League 1 winning street against Coventry Bears on Saturday afternoon as a 46-10 win saw them make it nine games in a row unbeaten and confirm North Wales Crusaders as the opposition for the Shield final on September 18th.
The Bears had a mathematical chance of overhauling the Welsh side and book a return visit to the North East had they prevailed against Mick Mantelli’s side, but they failed to fire with mistakes proving to be Thunder’s main opponent on the day.
That gave the first half a Jekyll and Hyde appearance with Thunder looking sharp, precise and dangerous in phases, before giving way to lacklustre moments that stifled the building of momentum in their favour.
This was demonstrated perfectly in the opening quarter, with eight minutes of huff and puff then giving way to a six minute blitz with three tries scored thanks to great interplay between the Thunder men.
South Shields youngster Zach Clark got things under way after a flowing passing move put him in at the corner, before Lewis Young freed Peter Fox for a second two minutes later and Dan Parker was released by Benn Hardcastle in close corners.
The half back’s conversion attempts failed to find the target on all three occasions, leaving Coventry with a potential inroad and one they duly took on the half hour after plenty of endeavour failed to yield an extension to the hosts advantage.
Catching Thunder out in defence, Eddie Medforth was on hand to take a scoring pass and finish off Jamahl Hunte’s break from half way. But it only served to galvanise Thunder’s attempts with a quick-fire brace from Ben Thorburn, both converted by Hardcastle, allowing the home side to lead 24-6 at the break.
The pick of the day’s tries opened the second half with centre Ali Blair supporting a break from former England winger Fox and finish of a surging 50 meter effort to start a strong 20 minute spell for Mick Mantelli’s team.
With Hardcastle converting that and further tries from Aaron Teroi and Joe Brown by the hour mark, Thunder were threatening to close in on their record score but as in the first half, the momentum stalled in line with the arrival of heavy rain.
After a short range effort from the visitors through Jack Morrison took them into double figures, Thunder managed to have the last word in worsening conditions as Evan Simons ran in one of his trademark sniping scores from a play the ball close to the Bears line.
After missing out on the League 1 Super 8s by a solitary point back in July, the win allowed Thunder to achieve their self-set goal of reaching the Shield final undefeated and with a chance of lifting their first trophy since 2008.
Newcastle Thunder Squad
Tom Reduiger, Zach Clark, Ali Balir, Joe Brown, Peter Fox, Lewis Young, Benn Hardcastle, Vincent Rennie, Evan Simons, Rhys Clarke, Harry Aldous, Dan Parker, Lee Paterson, Aaron Teroi, Jason Payne, Sam Luckley, Ben Thorburn
Thunder Try Scorers – Clark (8) Fox (10) Parker (14) Thorburn (35, 38) Blair (41) Teroi (50) Brown (57) Simons (74)
Thunder Goal Scorers – Hardcastle (35, 38, 41, 50, 57)
Coventry Bears Squad
Charlie O’Mara, Jason Bass, Eddie Medforth, Jono Millzewski, Jamahl Hunte, Danny Price, Joel James, Alex Beddows, Jay Lobwein, Trea O’ Sullivam, Grant Beecham, Chris Barratt, Jack Morrison, Richie Hughes, James Geurtjens, Joe Batchelor, John Aldred.
Bears Try Scorers – Medforth (31) Morrison (66)
Bears Goal Scorers – James (31)
Sin Bin – Richie Hughes (53)
Attendence – 456