AN INSPIRED first half performance by Coventry Bears could not stop them losing on the road at Barrow Raiders after they eventually lost 44-22 in the Kingstone Press Division One.
A tight first half saw the hosts take the lead through a Shane Toal touchdown but a Ritchie Hughes breakaway put the Bears in front.
Josh Ward put Barrow back in front much to the home fans’ delight but the visitors continued to put pressure on the Raiders line and they gave in to the pressure when Liam Thompson used his reach to bring proceedings level.
From here the visitors grew in confidence and this showed when they regathered the lead through a well worked try on the left wing which was finished off in spectacular fashion by Jamahl Hunte.
Again Barrow continued to stick with the Bears, this time Cameron Pitman touched down to bring his side back to within two points before an Adam Nicholson try put the hosts back in front with six minutes left in the half.
The Bears responded superbly as they drove up the field and with two minutes remaining in the half Jack Francis crashed over to give Coventry a 22-20 lead at the break.
As expected the Raiders came out firing in the second half and it took them just two minutes to regather the lead when half back Lupton dummied his way over the line.
On 58 minutes Chris Hankinson scored a controversial try after it appeared as though the winger had knocked on a kick before touching down but the referee awarded the try to Barrow.
From there the hosts kicked on and Hankinson grabbed another try before Craig Briscoe rounded off the scoring to make it 44-22 at full time.
“The match was quite a scrappy affair with both sides making errors that we shouldn’t be making at this level,” said Bears head coach Tom Tsang.
“Letting the ball bounce from kick restarts and not completing sets after scoring – they’re fundamental things.
“I thought the half time score was a fair reflection of the way the game went in the opening 40mins.
“It was a case of who cleaned up their act in the second half as to who would win the game and Barrow did that better than us.
“It’s encouraging to see that there was no difference in quality between the two sides but we just need to apply ourselves more consistently in games.
“We are determined to push on and win the majority of our remaining games and finish our first season on a high.”
The Bears will now look to continue their improved performances against South Wales Scorpions on August 16 at the Butts Park Arena.