THE MID-TABLE League One clash between Coventry Bears and Newcastle Thunder at the Butts Park Arena went in the favour of the visitors after they came away with a 14-32 victory.
Both sides were looking to push towards the top eight in the final stages of the round robin stage and current form suggested Saturday’s match would prove to be a close affair.
The hosts started brightly and scored the first points of the match when a strong carry from prop Alex Beddows followed by a quick play saw the ball reach James Redman and he saw the opportunity to put Grant Beecham through a hole in the defence to give the Bears an early lead.
However, just moments later a determined Thunders side responded after some quick thinking down the left allowed Peter Fox to score in the corner and level the scoreline.
What followed was a score-for-score battle as both sides fought for control in the game. Charlie O’Mara crossed for the Bears before replacement hooker Evan Simmons exploited a gap in the defence to make it 10-10.
The hosts got their noses in front again through Eddie Medforth but with minutes to go before half-time Vincent Rennie made the most of a knock on and touched the ball down to put the visitors two points ahead at the break.
The second half saw the Tyneside club come out firing and with just two minutes gone they extended their lead through winger Ali Blair.
Bears woes continued as captain Richie Hughes and back row Joe Batchelor both picked up injuries and were forced to withdraw from the match.
Despite having their backs against the wall the Bears defended bravely but after being reduced to 11 men Newcastle eventually pulled away to secure the win.
Former Bears player Dan Parker saw off the challenge of three defenders to touch down and in the final minute of the match Fox scored again to secure a 31-14 win.
The defeat dashed the Bears’ slim hopes of making the top half of the split ahead of this Saturday’s trip to North Wales Crusaders.