COVENTRY Bears were comfortably beaten 52-4 by Workington Town but the League One match will be remembered more for the dramatic return of Tongan legend Fuifui Moimoi.
He was in Workington’s squad but not in the starting line-up, yet his arrival on the pitch half way through the first half sparked a moment which Coventry Bears fans would talk about for years.
Town opened the scoring through Elliot Miller before Perry Singleton touched over to make it 8-0 after eight minutes.
Jack Blagbrough caught a tricky bounce from a long kick to add the away side’s third try with Carl Forber converting.
A succession of rapid-fire passes put Jamie Doran over for a well worked try, as the points continued to mount.
Next over was Stevie Scholey, who crashed down between the posts.
Then as if to add to Coventry’s misery, Tongan International Moimoi took to the field for the first time in Workington colours midway through the half.
Within two minutes of coming on, he was there, running with the ball towards the Coventry defence.
The crowd watched in awe as his massive frame charged at a defence already penetrated four times.
Then the giant was felled, stopped dead in his tracks by Peter Ryan, playing only his second game for the Bears.
But, in a decision which was met with shock, disbelief, and finally anger which continued to spill out on social media after the match, Ryan was sin-binned for ten minutes.
Bears captain Chris Vitallini protested in vain, and he too was sin-binned for ten minutes.
With the score at 26-0 and a two man advantage, Town found themselves with plenty of space as playmaker Sean Penkywicz grabbed one for himself.
Singleton’s second try completed the first half.
All credit to Tom Tsang’s interval talk as the second half was much less one-sided with the Bears clearly wanting to salvage pride in front of the Butts Park faithful.
However, after some tough defending and close attacking from the Bears, Sam Forrester broke the deadlock and added another for the away side.
Bears tried hard to fight back and defended vigorously with Dante Morley Samuels having a good game at full back and even managing to be in a few attacking moves, one culminating in Lewis Lord being held up over the line.
Workington were able to step up a gear once more as Karl Olstrom fought his way over, followed by team-mate Freddrick Bailey with just under a quarter of an hour left.
The day’s biggest cheer came in the 72nd minute as Kam Pearce-Paul grabbed a consolation try, to salvage some dignity.
Support community journalism by making a contribution
The Coventry Observer's team of journalists provide a trusted source of news, sport, entertainment and events going on in your area and issues which matter to you - both via our free weekly print edition and daily updates on our website.
Every contribution, however big or small, you can make will help us continue to do that now and in the future.
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.