RUGBY LEAGUE: COVENTRY Bears coach Tom Tsang hopes his side can use Sunday’s win against Hemel Stags to produce more positive results as the season draws to a close.
The Bears have just two home games remaining and three more on the road in what has been a turbulent year for the city’s newest semi-professional sporting team.
Having defeated Hemel earlier in the season, Tsang was hopeful his side could produce the goods once more – and they delivered as he asked.
The pattern of Sunday’s game resembled that of the year’s earlier fixture between the two sides as Coventry stormed to an early lead before almost throwing the game away.
Determined to shake off the disappointment of recent defeats, Coventry found themselves 16-10 ahead after 28 minutes with Brad Delaney cross over for two tries while kicking the conversions.
Following a period of stalemate, prop Jack Morrison powered his way through the Stags defence which paved the way for James Kelly to cross the line and extend Bears’ advantage to 12 points at halftime.
Wary of their ability to fade in the second half, Bears fans were relieved when Delaney elected to kick for two points rather than use an early second half opportunity for a try as Bears led by 14 points – meaning the visitors required at least three tries to salvage anything from the game.
Hayden Freeman settled a few nerves with another Bears try, but an uncharacteristic mistake later on in the game saw Stags narrow the gap to 12 points at 28-16.
New recruit Paul Emanuelli then scored a drop goal to add a further point to Bears’ tally. However Hemel refused to give in and with five minutes to go they added a further six points.
Stags piled on the pressure and crossed over once more, but were unable to convert – leaving the score at 29-26 with minutes to go.
As the clock ticked down, Coventry held on for a tense – but well fought – victory.
After the game, Bears coach Tom Tsang said: “It’s been a tough slog so far this season but there’s a core group of players who have kept turning up with good attitudes.
“The win was a reward for those lads and the hard work they’ve put in.
“I thought though that our lads really dominated throughout and probably should have gone on to win by a larger margin.
“Our challenge now is to use this as a catalyst for more strong performances to finish the year.”
Bears are next in action on Saturday afternoon on the road to face Cheltenham-based side All Golds.
The next home action at the Butts Park Arena takes place on Sunday, August 20, as Bears host London Skolars.