17th Sep, 2021

Shellshocked Bears must recover for big run-in, says head coach Squires

Ben Tyler 17th Aug, 2021

Dan Coates, centre, converted twice to add to his try at Cougar Park. Picture by Rich Beattie/SBS Photography.

RICHIE Squires has issued a battle cry to his Coventry Bears charges in the wake of Sunday’s crushing 46-18 defeat at Keighley Cougars.

The Bears head coach admits his side appeared shellshocked from the first whistle in the Betfred League One clash, one which leaves them teetering ominously in eighth position, on an afternoon where converted Hayden Freeman, Dan Coates and Brad Clavering scores failed to save much face.

“We didn’t come out of the blocks and lost control of the game from the very start,” said Squires.

“If I’m honest, I think the occasion got to us a little bit, and we felt sorry for ourselves.

“We changed things around in the second half and we started to find our way in the game, but ultimately being 40-10 down at half-time meant the game was over.

“We finished 6-6 in the second half, which is the positive we can take from it, but we now have a huge five weeks ahead of us.”

Sunday afternoon’s result helped the Cougars atone for a 24-18 defeat suffered at Butts Park Arena in July’s reverse fixture, with the scoring beginning just 28 seconds in when Charlie Graham wrestled his way over the try line.

Dan Parker was next to add to the scoring for the Cougar Park hosts, darting around his nearest man to score, while Mo Agoro scored the first of a hat-trick following a long-range Taylor Prell offload.

The Bears were clearly not at the races and found themselves four tries behind after just a quarter of an hour, Parker notching his second from close range as the onslaught continued.

Then, with perhaps the try of the afternoon, Agoro made a lung-busting 90 metre run to also make it two scores on the day.

Freeman took advantage of a fortunate bounce from a punt downfield to collect the ball and register Coventry’s first contribution to the scoreboard.

But reality soon hit home once again, as Agoro latched onto Billy Gaylor’s forward kick to seal his hat-trick.

Jack Miller, who converted all seven tries for his side, then added to the visitors’ first-half misery with a close-range score, moments before Dan Coates reduced the arrears at 40-12.

If Bears fans feared a similar rate of scoring in the second half, their fears were unfounded.

The less eventful second half began with a powerful Clavering run to the try line, which preceded a lull in the game.

Ryan Wright would have the last laugh for the hosts though, evading a high tackle to score his first of the season.

On Sunday, Coventry welcome West Wales Raiders, tenth, for the club’s final home game of the season.

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