BEARS head coach Tom Tsang has labelled Saturday’s trip to London Skolars on Saturday (3pm) as a huge one for the club, as Coventry look to respond to a fifth successive defeat in Betfred League 1 against Doncaster.
The 10-54 scoreline at Broadstreet RFC’s Ivor Preece Field was a tough watch for Bears fans, with the massively depleted squad struggling to match a full-strength Dons side.
Doncaster ran away with the game in the second-half, with Coventry also receiving a red card to add further insult to injury.
Tsang admitted that injuries played a massive part in the outcome of the game before a ball had even been kicked.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us, with the sheer volume of injuries we have in the squad currently,” he said.
“These injuries were compounded in game by us losing our two centres to rib injuries in the first half, followed by further injuries to their replacement players, leaving us with no fit players to rotate on the hottest day of the year.”
He looks ahead to this weekend’s fixture as a big opportunity to get back on track, before Coventry take to Rugby Lions’ Webb Ellis Road pitch for the first time the following weekend.
“All being well, we will get some of these players back this week as we travel to London for what is now a huge match for us,” said the Bears head coach.
“We are really looking forward to making history by playing a first professional Rugby League match at such a famous ground, and hope we can attract some new local support.”
Bears, who were also missing eight players currently participating at the Student Four Nations, were immediately on the backfoot when Doncaster’s Jason Tali claimed a first try four minutes in.
The Dons doubled their advantage midway through the half – again through Tali – with Kieran Buchanan adding the extras, before Elliott Hall scored a converted try to bring the hosts back into it.
However, a Buchanan try and conversion, followed by a score for Jordie Hedges, putting Doncaster 14 in front before the break.
The tone for a one-sided second half was set when Tali completed his hat-trick a minute after the restart, prior to a melee that resulted in Doncaster perpetrator Russell Spiers, and Coventry’s Jack Ray, both being sent off.
Doncaster were the beneficiaries of a contest that was now stretched following the dismissals, with Dave Scott’s and Buchanan’s converted scores added to by tries for Watson Boas, Kieron Lawton and Hedges.
Reece Rance pulled one back for the Bears to at least end the drubbing on a high note, but will hope for better fortunes next time out against the Skolars.