Coventry Bears 28 Workington Town 29

In one of the closest encounters of the season, Workington gained two valuable points against a plucky Coventry Bears team, who surprisingly have yet to gain their first victory against a traditional Northern side.

With only a few games to go of the regular season, a place in the top eight is by no means assured for Workington who were forced into giving everything against the Midlanders whose performance belied their league position.

There was a decidedly youthful feel to the 571 crowd, the Bears’ highest of the season as the game followed on from a Rugby League Development event, and a sprinkling of vocal Town supporters added to the atmosphere.

Workington kicked off and were determined to stamp their mark on the game, and with barely five minutes on the clock, were 4-0 up thanks to a spectacular diving try by Joe Hambley on the far right, following a kick during early sustained pressure.

With just nine minutes gone, Gordon Maudling doubled Town’s lead and Carl Forber made easy work of the conversion this time.

Next on the scoresheet was Maudling for his second, again following on from a well-placed kick.

Then, Hambley was next to get on the scoresheet as he weaved through a seemingly transfixed Coventry defence for his second.

With both these tries being converted, the score was already at 22-0 to Town and the game was only midway through the first half.

However, Coventry were not going to give in, and took a clever short kick to restart to surprise Workington, then two quick passes in succession and Delaney was over, but surprisingly failed to convert his own try.

The comeback was on as Mikey Russell pulled another back a couple of minutes before half time. Workington had let a good lead slip and needed to regain their composure and focus over the interval. Half-time 22-10 to Workington.

But still the Coventry comeback continued as the home side came out even more determined to continue and, within three minutes, Harry Chapman scored, and Delaney converted to make it 22-16 to Town.

Workington were now on the ropes and knew they had to do something fast in reply. This came in the guise of new loan signing Danny Rasool getting on the end of a lucky bounce and crossing over.

But soon Workington were down to 12 men following a sin-binning, once again allowing the Bears back into the game as Mikey Russell scored his second. Delaney made no mistake with the conversion.

Then on 58 minutes, Bears’ Hayden Freeman added to the home side’s tally and Delaney’s conversion put the score at 28-28.

This brought out a strong response from Town, and they pressed harder and harder, camping in the home side's half with Perry Singleton almost getting a try, but being held up over the line by a resolute defence. Coventry breathed again.

Minutes later, following a kick on the last tackle, Bears' Harry Chapman was caught in possession behind his own line and surrendered a dropout.

More pressure followed, but to no avail, this was a stalemate, exciting for the fans but nerve-racking for the coaches.

Only a drop goal now could separate the two sides, and after Delaney tried this for the home side, it was Carl Forber whose drop kick went between the posts.

Still the match was not over and Town once again had to dig deep to keep the Bears at bay.

The hooter finally brought relief from battle, with two evenly matched sides having given their all in front of an appreciative crowd, who went away with a lot to talk about.

Coventry Bears: Chapman, Russell, Bass, O’Mara, Hunte, Gaylor, Delaney, Guertjens, Hughes, Beddows, Sherratt, Jones. Reid. Subs (all used): Freeman, Aldred, Brennan, Morrison.

Tries: Delaney [24], Russell [36, 56], Chapman [43], Freeman [59].

Goals: Delaney 4/5.

Workington Town: Fell, Hambley, Rasool, Mossop, Rooke, Forber, Doran, Curwen, Howarth, Ryan, B Phillips, Maudling, Singleton. Subs (all used): Prior, Byrne, Fitzsimmons, Jacob Moore.

Tries: Hambley [4, 20], Maudling [9, 16], Rasool [44].

Goals: Forber 4/5.

Drop Goal: Forber.

Sin-bin: Rasool.

Penalties: 7-9.

Half time: 10-22.

Referee: C Smith.

Crowd: 571.

Star Man: Jamie Doran.