G.B students, current holders of the Scottish Courage cup,
where they defeated all the other service teams including the Royal Navy and the British
Army, were using this fixture as a warm up game to their forthcoming match against
Australia, and they had expected a comfortable victory but found themselves surprised by
the Bears commitment, determination and organisation.
The game started with both teams defending well, and gaining yards for either team
proved difficult, for over half an hour the score remained 0-0, both sides coming close to
scoring on several occasions. However it was G.B who broke the deadlock when after a
devastating kick from their scrum-half, Muckalt went over. Coventry kicked off and
restricted the students from advancing up field, with the ball now back in Coventry hands,
a slick move from the backs was almost finished off , but Chemeika Eribenne was somehow
tackled on the line. H-T 0-4 The second half began the same as the first with both
defences on top, Coventry's forwards Tony Wright, Ed Simkiss, Glenn Todd, Colin Peraira,
Alan Robinson and Ben Powiss all hammering away in attack, and tackling time after time in
defence. A period of sustained pressure from G.B eventually got it's reward, lan Atack
going over twice inside ten minutes to stretch the lead to 12-0. The Bears rallied
together, gained extra strength from somewhere and began to make inroads toward the G.B
line. Great runs from Francis Slater and Pieter Krige setting up a scoring opportunity,
this was taken by the inspired Craig Cathcart, twenty yards out with nothing on Cathcart
looked up saw a gap and placed a perfect kick behind the G.B defence, the crowd silenced
as he took off with a blistering burst of pace, went through the students and dived onto
the ball, this caused an almighty roar from the home crowd.
At this point Coventry really believed they could pull it back. More pounding from the
Bears especially Ben Shepherd and Colin Peraira was starting to tire G.B and when Shepherd
set off from twenty yards there was simply no stopping him. The score now 8-12 and into
the final seconds, the Bears almost snatched it, Cathcart and Shepherd going close, the
latter only inches away from touching down. The final whistle was greeted with disbelief
as the crowd realised just how close the Bears had come to upsetting one of the best
amateur teams in the country. Great Britain coach Vinny Webb was full of praise for
Coventry's efforts and strongly believes that the Bears can go a long way.
Coventry Bears are away to Derby on Saturday, but will be back at Coundon Rd on Friday
9 July when they take on the Royal Navy.
Report by Chris Norman.
Alan Robinson 07974 517519
Chris Norman 01203 442772
Ron Banks 01203 455856