COVENTRY Bears head coach Tom Tsang said his team must raise their game against future opposition, after a disappointing late collapse against North Wales Crusaders in a 34-18 defeat.
In a game that the Bears had been ahead, Coventry fell away towards the latter stages, despite still having a prospect of winning the game in the final ten minutes.
Tsang admitted the performance was below par compared to previous weeks.
“We came into the game off the back of two really strong performances and for some reason weren’t able to bring that good form forward.
“We made a lot of unforced errors and the game was very stop-start with lots of injury breaks so once we went behind it was difficult to build any meaningful momentum and pressure on Crusaders defence.
“North Wales on the other hand were more clinical and made the most of the few opportunities they had.”
In the second fixture played at Broadstreet RFC’s Ivor Preece Field, during the renovation of Butts Park Arena, Bears went into the game hoping to end the winless record that they have against the Crusaders in Coventry.
It seemed that particular run was potentially coming to an end, when Reece Rance embarked on a long-busting 80-yard run that ended with a touch down the towards the corner.
Nick Newman added the extra points despite the difficult angle, but Bears were instantly disadvantaged by the dismissal of Kam Pearce-Paul, who lashed out following a tackle.
Bears to their credit defended well and continued to edge further upfield despite the man disadvantage.
Crusaders did eventually punish the hosts by scoring out wide, courtesy of Dave Ecclestone’s try, with Kenny Baker levelling with the conversion.
Baker then claimed a try of his own to overturn the scores and hand North Wales a 12-6 lead.
The numbers were level once more when Kenny Hughes was sent to the sin bin, which ultimately made little difference to Coventry’s fortunes, as the visitors continued to edge further in front – Rob Massem being the latest player to cross the Bears’ try line.
Lewis Taylor pulled a try back for the Bears, with Newman again adding the extras to take them to within four points of the Crusaders.
Massem’s second of the afternoon was quickly rebuffed by an Elliot Hall try, bringing Bears back into contention.
Crusaders took full advantage of the wearied hosts, who had been struck by a couple of injuries during the game, and went further ahead through Warren Thompson’s converted score.
Karl Ashall put the finishing touches to a comprehensive win for the visitors, condemning Bears to a sixth loss of the season.
They hope to pick themselves back up in just over a week’s time, when visiting Whitehaven on Sunday (June 9, 3pm).