Woolston Rovers 20 Coventry Bears 22

WOOLSTON Rovers suffered an agonising narrow defeat at home to Coventry Bears in their opening Kingstone Press National Conference League Division Three game of the season at Monks Sports Club on Saturday afternoon.

Rovers had the better of the game for large parts and led until the closing stages but the Bears managed to claw their way back into the game and snatch victory late on to condemn Rovers to a heartbreaking defeat.

The scoring was opened in the third minute when a flowing move down field by Rovers stretched the Bears defence and stand off Billy Maunder found centre Daniel Keogh who put winger Christian Taylor over in the left corner and then nine minutes later Taylor intercepted a Coventry pass and ran 90 metres, outpacing the chasing defenders to score on the left.

Hooker Warren Ayres added the conversion to establish an early 10-point lead.

Coventry hit back on the half hour when pressure on Rovers’ line was rewarded when scrum half Duncan Barrett managed to ground the ball despite pressure from the Rovers defence.

Loose forward Stephen Coleman converted but then five minutes before the break a lovely pass from Rovers scrum half Scott Whiteley found Keogh, who squeezed over in the left corner to make the half time score 14-6 to Rovers.

Four minutes into the second half a superb pass from Coventry stand off Gregg Moore enabled centre Tom Davis to step back inside ad score on the right but once again Rovers regained the upper hand just before the hour mark when second row Sean Conway made a break down the middle and threw out a long speculative pass over two Bears defenders heads and winger Lewis Stockton collected superbly to race over in the right corner.

Ayres converted from the touchline.

Rovers had substitute Andy Addison sin-binned in the 69th minute for a late challenge and from the resulting penalty the Bears swept the ball wide to winger Tawanda Chipadza who scored in the right corner.

Coleman converted from wide out and then three minutes later they made the extra man count once again when they stretched Rovers’ defence and that created room for prop forward Matt Cooper to go through a gap and score under the posts to level the scores.

Coleman added the easy conversion to put his side ahead for the first time and despite them having Chipadza sent off in the final minute for a head butt they held on for a narrow 22-20 win.

Best for Rovers were second row pair Danny Griffiths and Sean Conway along with scrum half Scott Whiteley and centre Tom Keevil.

Rovers James Rosson, Lewis Stockton, Tom Keevil, Daniel Keogh, Christian Taylor, Billy Maunder, Scott Whiteley, Danny Heaton, Warren Ayres, Chris Mellor, Sean Conway, Danny Griffiths, Mark Jones. Subs Chris Brown, Andy Addison, Wez Lawton, Mark Robinson.