Coventry Bears season preview.
This weekend sees the start of a pivotal season for the Coventry Bears, as they compete in the National Conference League in preparation for stepping up to the professional ranks of the Kingstone Press Championship in 2014.
The newly revised third division will pitch the Bears against some tough opposition, with many teams being stalwarts from Rugby League’s northern heartland areas such as Wigan, St. Helens and Warrington.
Fans who take up the club’s call to arms and Join The Roar will see a vastly different line-up this season, with some new and exciting players coming into the squad. Head Coach Tom Tsang is in confident mood ahead of Saturday’s first away encounter against Wigan St. Cuthberts and gives his take on the Bears prospects this season.
“Having lost over 10 of last year’s regular starters, we were forced to recruit heavily over the off-season. Through this we have had a strong group of players join us from Loughborough University, headed by England SRL captain Mark Wilson.
“Another crucial signing is former Leeds Metropolitan University and Sheffield Eagles forward, Ben Tyers. Ben will give us valuable experience in the pack, and will provide good go forward for our exciting backline.
“In the backs we have retained powerful three-quarter Ross Bayston, but don’t be surprised to see Ross doing some hard work in the forwards at times this year.
“Also, we have picked up a group of talented, young Australians who will all be pushing for a starting spot in the team. We are hoping halfbacks Trent Achilles and Ryan Gowing can form a lethal partnership and steer this exciting group of players around the park.
“The move into the newly formed NCL division will be somewhat of a step into the unknown, and the Bears will be playing most teams for the first time in their history. We are expecting tough and physical encounters each week, and we know we will be tested in the forwards in every game.
“However after our strong showing against Championship 1 opposition, NW Crusaders in pre-season, we are confident of being able to match teams through the middle, and allow our backs to click into place.
“Its hard to predict where we will finish in the league, but as a squad we are aiming for a top 4 placing by the mid-point in the season. We will look to see if we achieve this goal, and re-assess at that point.”
The challenge of St. Cuthberts is not lost on the squad, and a strong team is being fielded against the ex North West Premier league club who last season made their division’s play-offs.
The match will be played at St. Cuthberts Pembec Playing Fields ground, Montrose Avenue, Newtown, Wigan, WN5 9XL with a kick-off time of 2.30pm and the Bears squad lines up as follows:
1. Dan Durston, 2. Fabrizio Ciaurro, 3. Ross Bayston, 4. Gavin Grant, 5. Chris Dixon, 6. Trent Achilles, 7. Ben West, 8. Ben Tyers, 9. Reece Needham, 10. Stefano Cardella, 11. Mat Turner, 12. Tom C Davies, 13 Stephen Coleman, 14 Demo Gonsalves, 15 Ryan Gowing, 16 Ben Vivian, 17 Andy Cooper, 18 Richard Synnott, 19 David O’Connor, 20 Francesco De milito
Fans wishing to travel to the match can join the club coach for only £10 per person. The coach will pick up from the Butts Park Arena at 10.00am, and The Phantom Coach pub at 10.15am.
The Bears are inviting rugby league fans everywhere to get behind the club this season, with various ways to follow, watch and support the club in the hugely popular Join The Roar campaign. For more information on getting involved with Coventry’s Rugby League club go to www.coventrybears.co.uk/roar
2013 – Ins and Outs.
Ash Johnson (Hemel)
Dan Ljazouli (Hemel)
Chris Stevenson (Hemel)
Tobias Rochester Bremmer (Hemel)
Tawanda Chipadza (UG All Golds)
Mike Venn (UG All Golds)
Andy McGrory (Oxford)
Luke Srama (Australia)
Brad Massey (Australia)
Tim Leishman (Astralia)
Tyrone Rowe (York Acorn)
Jack Powley (Long term injury)
Fabrizio Ciaurro (Italy)
Daniel Durston (Central Newcastle, Aus)
Andy Cooper (RAF)
Stefano Cardella (Italy)
Francesco Di Milito (Italy)
Trent Achilles (Warwick, Aus)
Brad Gray (Canberra)
Mat Turner (Canberra)
Ryan Gowing (Canberra)
Ben Tyers (Sheffield Eagles)
Demetrius Gonsalves (Leicester Storm)
Mark Wilson (Loughborough)
Chris Barratt (Loughborough)
Tom Hughes (Loughborough)
Harry Stevenson (Loughborough)
Nathan Britten (Loughborough)