COVENTRY Bears made it two wins from two in League One to stay joint-top with Workington Town, after edging out Newcastle Thunder 32-28 at Butts Park Arena.
The Bears went into the weekend’s game against the north east visitors fresh and positive after a solid victory the previous week against West Wales Raiders.
A different proposition was expected from Thunder compared to the Welshmen, who had finished bottom of the division the previous season.
Newcastle are much-fancied to be amongst the top two in the division at the season end and went into the game determined to put right the wrongs of their opening day defeat.
Bears came out of the traps strongly though and immediately set the pace for the game, taking a lead within four minutes.
They stole possession of the ball and immediately made a darting sprint towards the line, Jacob Jones going over for the first try of the afternoon.
Elliot Hall then claimed two quickfire tries, both converted by Nicholas Newman, to give Bears a commanding 16-0 lead.
Newcastle valiantly responded with three tries of their own, including two conversions, to level the scores up at 16 all.
Coventry resumed their early ascendancy though and went in at half-time with the lead regained.
This time it was Rob Butler to cross the whitewash, giving Bears the easier of the half-time team talks.
Following the break, Thunder came out and responded with a leveller, but were quickly rebuffed after two tries in quick succession from Hayden Freeman and a stunning effort from Newman resumed the hosts lead.
Newman’s conversion kicked Bears into an unassailable lead, or so they thought, when Liam McAvoy ploughed his way over the line for the final try of the afternoon.
Bears held on to see out a four-point victory, delighting coach Tom Tsang after yet another convincing showing on the pitch.
‘One, or even two wins doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, with a whole season to go,” he said.
“We’ve proven to ourselves, and others, that we can win matches, we just have to hold on to that belief.
“Next week is another test for us as we are away from home, facing Keighley, who registered their biggest ever victory against us last season.
“However we then beat them at home a few weeks after that.
Tsang maintained the fact his side need to remain grounded and keep fighting throughout the rest of the campaign.
“We know what we need to focus on in training, and no one will be complacent as we prepare for our first away game of the season.”
Bears’ trip to Keighley Cougars this Sunday (3pm) sees them take on the bottom side, who have only played once this season, in a 28-16 loss to Whitehaven.