BUFFALOES PROVE EASY MEAT FOR BEARS
by Andy Coldrick
Coventry Bears 76 (34) v Bramley Buffaloes 8 (8)
The game was over as a spectacle after the Bears raced to 22-0 lead within the first 12 minutes through tries by Full Back Tom Tsang, Loose Forward Rob Brown, Winger Tanaka Chamunokara and Chad Grant. Unfortunately the lack of organisation, fitness and awareness within the Buffaloes team was ruthlessly exposed as Coventry almost scored at will early on. Holes in the defensive line, no sliding defence and an inability to deal with high kicks all produced ‘soft tries. That said as ever the Buffaloes responded with a try by winger Matty Oliver on 17 minutes after excellent approach work from Buffaloes man-of-the-match Graham Harrison. Sam Coates failed with the conversion. Coventry continued to run through huge gaps, off load at will and generally cause panic in the Buffaloes defence every time they attacked. Coventry centre Stephen Coleman broke through some poor tackling on 22 minutes to score from 40 metres. A 40/20 from ex Bramley full back Tom Tsang led to a try from short range by Stand off Dan Poulton on 26 minutes. Chris Gardner entered the fray to a great reception from the travelling Buffaloes fans as the Buffaloes restarted the game and collected the ball. Chris drove the ball in hard and the Buffaloes were rewarded for their efforts when Chris spun out of a tackle on the Coventry line and got the ball down for a try. Chris failed to convert his own try. The first half ended with the Buffaloes forcing a drop out and asking a few more questions of the Bears defence which remained resolute. Sam Booker, Craig Broadbent, Ross Peel and Lewis Barrett all showed up well for the Buffaloes. The teams departed to the changing rooms with the home side leading 34-8.
The second half had a very similar story to the first except that the Buffaloes failed to score! The Buffaloes completed their opening set ok but from nothing Tom Tsang again jinked his way through the defence to score under the posts within the first minute. A further six tries followed at regular intervals to the Bears. Stephen Coleman and debutant Paul O’Connor eased the Bears to the 50 point mark on 52 minutes, Coleman converting both. From the kick off Coventry’s top scoring prop Si Perry ran the length of the field, evading some poor, tired tackling. This feat was to be repeated by second row Chad Grant shortly afterwards. Tom Tsang completed his hat trick on 68 minutes and Paul O’Conner went in for his second try of the afternoon on 78 minutes. The Buffaloes finished the game on the attack.
The game was over as a meaningful contest early on so it is difficult to say what both teams can take from this. Coventry Bears were not tested by the Buffaloes for any significant period of time. Their goal-line defence was only tested spasmodically in the first half and less so in the second. As a run out with ball in hand they look a big, mobile useful unit. However how they deal with a more robust attack and defence from the likes of Huddersfield, remains to be seen. They look however to have a good set up on and off the field and look a good prospect for a top 6 finish at the moment. The Buffaloes however once again field a different team for the third game running and the lack of continuity showed. 32 players used in 3 games tells its own story! Commitment and enthusiasm were not lacking again, however too many missed tackles, players dropping off tackles and a general lack of awareness, as well as tired bodies and minds contributed to a similar outcome as per the previous week. And if you thought it could get no worse…Graham Harrison has a suspected broken thumb!!
Game star: Name any one of several Coventry players, Alex Brown, Stephen Coleman, Tom Tsang, Simon Perry or Paul O’Connor. For the Buffaloes, Graham Harrison was outstanding in attack and defence and there were worthy efforts from Sam Booker, Craig Broadbent, Ross Peel, Chris Gardner, Nathan Williams and Matty Oliver.
Game breaker: Coventry’s 22 unanswered points in the opening 11 minutes sealed the outcome early on.
Coventry Bears: 1. Tom Tsang, 2. Tanaka Chamunokara, 3. Stephen Coleman, 4. Alex Sweeney, 5. Rob Nichols, 6. Dan Poulton, 7. Scott Glendenning-Fenton, 8. Rhiddian Booth, 9. Alex Brown, 10. Simon Perry, 11. Chad Grant, 12. Brad Massey, 13. Rob Brown, Subs; (all used) 14. Barry McGuffog, 15. Harry Kaufman, 16. Christian Jacobs, 17. Paul O’Connor.
Tries: Tsang 3 (1, 43 & 68), Coleman 3 (21, 46 & 57), O’Connor 2 (57 & 78),Grant (12), Brown (5), Chamunokara (7), Poulton (26), Perry (59)
Goals: Coleman (12/13)
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Reece Spurr, 2. Jason Shaw, 3. Tom Langton, 4. Nathan Williams, 5. Matthew Oliver, 6. Lewis Barrett , 7. Sam Coates, 8. Sam Booker, 9. Graham Harrison, 10. Craig Broadbent, 11. Lee Buckley, 12. Nathan Lumb, 13. Ross Peel, Subs: (all used) 14. Phil Hedley, 15. Darren Greenwood, 16. Adam Roberts, 17. Chris Gardner.
Tries: Oliver (17), Gardner (28)
Goals: Coates (0/1), Gardner (0/1)
Final score: 76-8
Referee: Steve Davis
Penalty Count: 8(3)-10(4)
Man of the Match:
Coventry Bears: Alex Brown
Bramley Buffaloes: Graham Harrison