MATCH REPORT – Newcastle Thunder 88 – 6 Coventry Bears

Newcastle Thunder turned on the style on Sunday afternoon as they got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion, with a 16-try demolition of Coventry Bears in their biggest win of the season to date.

It was a highly satisfactory performance from Simon Finnigan’s men as they showed high levels of precision in attack, as they repeatedly tore their way through the visitors’ defensive line en route to an 88-6 win.

Having suffered a shock loss to the Coventry back in February, Thunder were left stunned when the Bears opened the scoring against the run of play, after the hosts had created three unfinished opportunities in the opening ten minutes.

But rather than being a portent of things to come, it simply awoke a sleeping giant who proceeded to sweep aside any form of resistance from the visitors.

Levelling through Conor Fitzsimmons, Thunder stormed into a 24-6 lead over the course of a one-way ten minutes that yielded four converted tries and left the visitors shell-shocked.

The torrent continued to the end of the half with an additional quartet of tries as Lewis Young with a brace and Aaron Ollett,  Joel Edwards, Keal Carlile, Alex Clegg and Quentin Laulu- Togaga’e with single efforts all contributed to putting the hosts into a commanding 48-6 lead at the break.

After some scrappy play from both teams, the second half saw Young bag his hat-trick as yet more strong carries allowed the full-back to run into space and finish off an impressive individual score.

Coventry to their credit were trying to pose questions of the host’s defence, but Thunder were in no mood for them to be asked.

The Bears afternoon was well summed up whilst trying to make use of a promising surge into the Thunder half.

Attempting to get the ball away from the tackle, it was instead ripped away by Kieran Gill who gleefully galloped away for the first of a quickfire hat-trick.

Cutting through the Bears defence at will, more clinical handling set up Misi Taulapapa‘s first try of the afternoon, as a deft flick from Young set the captain on his way down the wing before the provider added his fourth of the day after a strong break from Tyler Craig.

With the clock running down, Thunder kept their foot on the gas as they looked to make the result as emphatic as possible, with two tries in the last two minutes adding a final layer of gloss.

Having played a key role in the Bears‘ win over Thunder back in February it seemed only fitting that Nick Newman, who had controlled the game beautifully from the halves had the last word with Thunder’s final converted try of the day as the full-time hooter sounded.

Thunder remain third in the Betfred League 1 table following Sunday’s win, but with momentum firmly restored, they will be confident of finishing the regular season in strong style and leaving themselves well placed to seize second should Oldham RLFC falter during the run-in.

Newcastle Thunder

Lewis Young, Misi Taulapapa, Tyler Craig, Kieran Gill, Alex Clegg, Quentin Laulu Togaga’e, Nick Newman, Joel Edwards, Aaron Ollett, Liam McAvoy, Rhys Clarke, Conor Fitzsimmons, Sam Luckley, Jack Aldous, Muizz Mustapha, Keal Carlile, Carne Doyle-Manga

Tries: Fitzsimmons (18, 77) Young (20, 31, 54, 77) Ollet (23), Edwards (27) Carlile (34) Clegg (37) QLT (39) Gill (60, 64, 66) Taulapapa (67) Newman (78)

Goals: Clarke 12/16

Coventry Bears

Elliot Hall, Hayden Freeman, Kadeem Williams, Kameron Pearce-Paul, Errol Carter, Bradley Sheridan, Nathan Conroy, Jack Ray, Harvey Whiteley, Jocelyn Landu, Jacob Jones, James Mason, Chris Barratt, Lawrence Wood, Reece Williams, Zac Fellows, Euan Tiernan

Tries: Ray (11)

Goals: Hall 1/1

Penalty count: 6-9

Half-time: 46-6

Referee: Andy Sweet

Attendance: 711