MATCH REPORT: Coventry Bears 18 – 32 Newcastle Thunder

Newcastle Thunder dogged out their second win of the season on Good Friday as they battled atrocious conditions to take an 18-32 Betfred League 1 win away to Coventry Bears.

On a wet afternoon in the Midlands and on a pitch that has been hit hard by the ravages of winter, the Tyneside club put in a professional performance to bounce back from last weekend’s two-point loss to league leaders Doncaster RLFC.

Thunder made a solid start with two Tee Ritson scores in the opening quarter of an hour after starting strongly and applying plenty of early pressure.

Running an arcing line for his first, Ritson caused enough indecision to cut through the tackles of two Bears defenders to crash over before sprinting home from halfway for his second try seven minutes later.

With both converted by Tom Shaw, Thunder were into a healthy 0-12 lead and despite having to wait until the close of the half to add further to the score-line, were looking good value for lead.

The third try of the afternoon came via some tenacity from Lewis Young as the half-back forced an error on the floor and saw Coventry lose control of the ball. Pouncing on the opportunity, Young hacked forward into space before scooping up the ball for a straightforward score.

Having taken his side to a 0-18 lead at the break, the 22-year-old set up the extension of the advantage early in the second half as a nicely weighted kick over the top of the Coventry defence allowed Aaron Ollett to win the race to the ball for their fourth converted try.

The hosts enjoyed a swing in momentum following that try, with two converted scores of their own halving the deficit to Thunder, before a penalty goal from Shaw allowed Thunder to get their half of the scoreboard ticking over again.

Having arrested Coventry’s progress Thunder made sure of the points with two minutes to go, as Ritson secured his hat-trick as he slipped through the tackle to finish off a simple passing move that was well executed in the wet and mud.

Though the Bears had the final word through Ben Stead, Newcastle will be satisfied with a return to winning ways ahead of the visit of York City Knights to Kingston Park Stadium next Sunday.

Newcastle Thunder

Tee Ritson, Mo Agoro, Joe Brown, Tuoyo Egodo, Ali Blair, Lewis Young, Tom Shaw, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons, Vincent Rennie, Sam Luckley, Aaron Ollett, Jack Aldous, Rhys Clarke, Harry Aldous, Conor Fitzsimmons, Ben Pointer.

Try Scorers – Ritson x3, Young, Ollett

Goal Scorers – Shaw 6/6

Coventry Bears

Jason Bass, Hayden Freeman, Kam Pearce-Paul, Dante Morley-Samuels, Jamahl Hume, Paul Emanuelli, Ben Stead, James Geutjens, Zak Williams, Dan Gover, Kieran Sherratt, James Mason, Chris Vitalini, Liam Rice-Wilson, Joel Thomas, Malikhi Lloyd Jones, Errol Carter

Try Scorers -Mason, Carter, Stead

Goal Scorers – Stead 3/3