8th Apr, 2020

REPORT: Stokes hat-trick lights up Butts Park Arena as Coventry Rugby's strong pre-season continues

RUGBY UNION: FULL Back James Stokes claimed a first half hat-trick to set up an eight-try win for Coventry against Sale on Saturday at the Butts Park Arena.

Coventry’s pre-season schedule continued in fine style as they first defeated Sale 50-0 before a second fixture on the same afternoon saw Roland Winter’s side get the better of Broadstreet 57-24.

In the opening game, against Sale, the visitors travelled with a depleted squad due to injuries.

Despite this, they enjoyed a strong opening ten minutes and started the second half with purpose.

But Winter’s men broke down the Sale defence and remained in control of the game with a series of well-worked set pieces.

Stokes opened the scoring with an unconverted try from a quickly-taken penalty after ten minutes, and he crossed for his second five minutes later when put into space by Tony Fenner who added the conversion.

Sale lost Gaz Rawlings to a yellow card on the half hour for a high tackle on Olly Povoas, Coventry kicked the resultant penalty into the left corner and then drove over for Phil Nilsen to claim the try with Fenner converting.

Sam Tuitupou put Stokes over for his hat-trick try on 40 minutes for a 24-0 lead at the break.

Rob Knox stretched over in the left corner for the fifth try at the start of the second half.

Centre partners Alex Grove and Heath Stevens added two more before Stokes signed off with his fourth try in stoppage time, Will Maisey converting the last three scores.

Coventry 57-24 Broadstreet

A COVENTRY side made up mostly of academy members proved too strong for city neighbours Broadstreet, who were promoted back to National League Two at the end of last season.

Trailing 28-7 at half-time, Street came back out firing and scored three unanswered tries to cut the gap to four points after 56 minutes.

But the final quarter belonged to the home side who added five more tries in an impressive performance bristling with promise to ease well clear by the final whistle.

Ben Palmer sliced through the Street cover for Coventry’s opening try after three minutes.

But Street were back on terms after nine minutes when Scott Truslove went over between the posts for Lee Chapman to convert.

Tries from Tom Price, Harry Morley, and Kwaku Asiedu extended Coventry’s lead by half time.

But Street got themselves back into contention when Andy Murray, Nick Thatcher, and Tom Walker crossed the line as Coventry lost their way at the start of the second half.

But a well-taken Louis Roach try sparked a storming finish for Coventry as three further tries wrapped up a comfortable 33 point win.

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