COVENTRY Bears head coach Tom Tsang was left proud of the fighting spirit shown by his side, despite falling to a 34-18 defeat away to Oldham in Betfred League 1.
Bears had played well and created a number of chances throughout the contest, but were unable to find the clinical edge required to put the hosts to the sword – and were ultimately punished by promotion-chasing Roughyeds.
Tsang admitted he was left with mixed feelings at full-time.
“On the one hand it’s an awful feeling any time we lose, especially when so much effort and energy was invested in the performance,” he said.
“But on the other hand I’m immensely proud of the fight and endeavour my team put in.”
He believes his side could have claimed victory with luck on their side, but takes positives despite defeat.
“We also created many more chances than we were able to finish off and but for a little bounce of the ball here and there, the result today could have been very different.
“We matured as a team today and should now go into the next phase of the season very confident of being able to mix it with any team in the competition.”
Both sides were unable to find a breakthrough during an even opening 20 minutes, but it was the hosts who finally broke the deadlock, scoring through Dave Hewitt with a converted try.
Danny Langtree doubled the lead with another converted score, but even with a 12-0 deficit to chase, the Bears were not down and out by any means.
However, a second from Langtree, and one from Matty Wilkinson provided Coventry with a mountain to climb going into the break – with both tries coming within a three-minute period.
Bears emerged after the break and threw caution to the wind, displaying admirable drive to try and claw themselves back into the contest.
They were on the scoreboard nine minutes into the half, when Sam Davis put through Kameron Pearce-Paul to cross the whitewash.
Oldham rendered the try useless after Danny Bridge claimed the fifth Oldham try of the afternoon six minutes later, but even then the setback failed to dampen Coventry spirits.
Bears were rewarded for their efforts and struck through star man Davis, who put in the hard yards to surpass a number of players before delivering the ball to Elliot Hall to eventually score.
Richie Hawkyard helped Oldham pull away again with just ten minutes left to play, but Davis scored the third Bears try of the afternoon to narrow the deficit, but to no avail.
Bears had dug deep, but ultimately it was their first-half performance that let them down, despite winning the second half.
Coventry return to The Ivor Preece Field on Sunday (3pm), with work at Butts Park Arena continuing, as they prepare to host North Wales Crusaders.