COVENTRY Bears exited the Rugby League Challenge Cup last Friday night, after falling to Doncaster 38-16 at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The final scoreline was perhaps harsh on Bears, given that the half-time deficit was just four points, and still six with ten minutes of the game remaining.
Bears started on the offensive underneath the floodlights, opening the scoring through Kadeem Williams, who capitalised on Kieran Sherratt’s excellent kick forward.
With the try not converted, a recurring problem throughout the game, it would eventually come back to bite the Bears.
They did however cross the try line a second time, courtesy of Elliot Hall, who finished off an impressive flowing move.
The Dons responded though, claiming a converted try to narrow Coventry’s lead to just two points, before scoring another before the break to lead 12-8.
Williams went over for his second try following the restart, but again a conversion was missed – bringing the scores all square.
Will Tully was inches from making it over the line, but was held up at the last, which signalled a turning of the tide.
Dons went down the other end to score a third try of the game and go ahead for the first time.
They followed that up with another try, but Bears were not going to cave in and powered over the line through Dan Gover, bringing the scores back to 22-16 with ten minutes remaining.
But the try was a false dawning, as the Dons gained a further 16 points – including three tries, two of which were converted, to seal their place in the next round.
Head coach Tom Tsang remained upbeat after the game, and believed the performance stands his side in good stead for the rest of the campaign.
“Despite the loss there are huge positives to take from our performance.
“We demanded a reaction from last week and the players really turned up and gave it everything.
“The scoreline really doesn’t show how close the game was – at 60 minutes it was still in the balance. Unfortunately, we picked up 6 injuries in the game, 4 of them inside the first 55 minutes, meaning we had no healthy players available and we weren’t able to make any substitutions after this point.
“Had this been different I genuinely believe we could have got the result we wanted.”
Bears next look ahead to hosting Workington on Sunday (3pm) with confidence after their battling performance in the cup.