COVENTRY BEARS 22 HEMEL STAGS. 36
Ian Henshaw @ Butts Park Arena, Sunday.
FOLLOWING a dominant second half performance Hemel Stags ran out comfortable winners of this pre-season game between two League 1 sides Both Coaches declared big squads as the wanted to use the game to give game time to as many players as possible.
The opening pressure was exerted by the home side but it was the visitors who got the scoreboard ticking when, on six minutes, a pass by the Bears fullback Vic Roper was read by Liam Coe who intercepted the ball and ran fully 90 yards to dot the ball down before converting his own try.
Coventry's reply was not long in coming, Hayden Freeman broke the Hemel defence on the half way line and despite being tracked by Stags all the way he crossed the line for the try. The kick from Vic Roper levelling the score.
Hemel lost the services of prop Dan Hawksworth with a serious looking leg injury, the long delay for treatment seemed to favour the big Bears players who took the opportunity for a breather, their next attack ending in a goal line drop out then in the resulting set the giant Zack Johnson charged over the line, Roper converting. Hemel nearly drew level minutes later but Barlow dropped the ball over the line. They did level though on the half hour mark when after a penalty for offside Tomlinson broke free and went past three defenders with some neat footwork for a try converted by Coe.
The visitors went into a lead they were never to lose five minutes later, a clever little kick through by Coe was caught on the full by the impressive Vincent who ran through unopposed under the sticks. Coe again adding the extras.
Although Vincent was unlucky to see his acrobatic dive in the corner ruled out for a foot in touch it was Coventry who started the second half the brightest. A dropped ball by Murphey as he tried to touch down relieved the pressure on the Hemel line but that pressure was put back on when the home team got a repeat set which was ultimately dealt with. As Hemel kicker Coe left the field with an elbow injury a kick on by Coventry near their own line rebounded fortuitously off Stags Josh Halliday who chased it over the try line and just managed to ground the ball before it went dead. The kick from Barlow improving the score.
A kick on the last by Coventry was gathered by Darren Forde who ran 60 yards evading every would be tackler and along with Barlow's conversion Coventry's chances of a comeback were effectively over. Coventry never stopped trying and the pressure on the Hemel defence was quite intense at times bit they held firm, holding up Johnson on a power play by the Bears.
Vincent bagged his brace with a power play to Hemel, again Barlow converting but in the last three minutes Medforth, following a superb break from Hunte, and Gover both scored tries for the hosts to give the final score line a degree of respectability.