HEAD coach Tom Tsang said that his Coventry Bears side must focus on recovering from their 44-16 drubbing away to West Wales Raiders.
The result was a significant one for the hosts from Llanelli, as it was their first win in 45 matches, and their first since rebranding in 2018.
Tsang was quick to highlight the main factor in the defeat, but hopes to move on quickly from the loss.
“The injuries to so many players really cost us today,” he said.
“But there are no League games this weekend, so it gives us breathing space to recover and get back together as a team, before we play Keighley at Webb Ellis Road.”
Coventry went into the fixture without eight key first-team players, a factor that quickly hindered them when meeting a Raiders side desperate to put an end to their misfortunes.
So when Dalton Desmond-Walker crossed the whitewash in the sixth minute, Bears fans had every right to fear that a tough afternoon was on the cards.
The early deficit was increased when Ash Bateman and then Morgan Evans crossed over the try line, with the latter finishing off a defence-splitting move that had Coventry chasing shadows.
Bears had no choice but to dig deep and defend in numbers to halt the momentum of West Wales, something that Coventry found success with until Steve Parkinson breezed past a number of defenders to offload to Archie Snooks to score.
With the scoreline at 20-0 at the break, a team talk by Tsang seemed to have worked wonders as the Bears, who appeared more uplifted after the restart.
A try by Reece Rance following a well-worked move provided some much needed confidence, followed up by a conversion by loanee Joe Sanderson – to prompt hopes of a possible comeback.
But the Raiders did not lose spirit after conceding their first try of the game, and instead struck back with three unanswered tries.
Bateman and Snook both crossed the whitewash for a second time of the afternoon, while Stephen Parr and former Bear Mitch Shaw took the hosts’ tally up to eight tries – to build an unassailable lead for the Raiders.
Despite being blown away by the stream of tries, the Bears recovered to score through Errol Carter, followed up by a try for Welshman Cobi Green, to make the scoreline somewhat more respectable for the visitors.
The late rally was too little, too late for the Bears, but they could have no complaints against an inspired side that were deserving of ending their winless run.
Bears return to Webb Ellis Road on Sunday August 4 (3pm) to face second-bottom Keighley Cougars, and will be looking to avenge the 40-8 defeat suffered back in March.