West Wales Raiders Match Report
Bears secure hard fought win against Raiders.
West Wales Raiders 18 Coventry Bears 28
Coventry Bears made a welcome return to winning ways as they chalked up their sixth League 1 victory in Llanelli at the weekend.
West Wales Raiders remain at the foot of the table, but they certainly gave the Bears a scare with a determined performance better than their position suggests.
The match was one which the Bears expected to win, but they faced a team fielding six players from the Bears former rivals Gloucestershire All Golds, while in return the Bears had five players from the principality named in their squad.
The Bears were first to score courtesy of Hayden Freeman who nicely latched on to a Ben Stead kick to bag the first try after seven minutes, and Ben Stead's conversion put the score at 0-6.
Then it was Liam Rice-Wilson's turn to cross the line and another conversion, this time by Paul Emanuelli, doubled the lead to a comfortable 0-12.
But then the home side showed some of the determination they have shown in defeat to pull themselves back into a game by now strewn with errors and niggles.
Steve Parry scored their first try and a second was added a few minutes later by Sam Baker. Both were converted and the score was now level at 12-12 and remained this way til half time.
For the struggling Raiders this was a landmark occasion as they have never not been losing at half time. Could this first ever victory come at the expense of the Bears?
The worries of Bears fans were eased as the team came out and were soon quashing the Raiders hopes of an upset thanks to a try from Ashley Bateman, which Emanuelli duly converted.
The lead was further extended as Hayden Freeman crossed over for his second of the afternoon .
Now with four tries against the Raiders two, the match looked like it was falling into the Bears' laps, but no, the Welsh resistance was still capable of striking and causing damage.
And their reward was a third try, and now the score stood at a nail-biting 18-22. Another try now from the home team could have been a fatal blow for the Bears.
But the Bears dug deep and showed their composure and professionalism as Kieran Sherrat's try sealed the game and it ended with a ten point margin in favour of the Bears at 18-28.
For Raiders this was probably the best performance of their existence in the league, but in the final analysis it was a case of 'job done' for the Coventry team.
It had been tight, not pretty at times, but this was a good win, before the break in fixtures for next week's Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.