Whitehaven 32 Coventry Bears 18: An all-important win for Gary Charlton’s side saw League One leaders Whitehaven extend their unbeaten league run to eight games, and saw them maintain a three-point gap ahead of a tricky sequence of fixtures.

Haven staged a second-half comeback after going in 14-8 down at half-time, despite a try for youngster Andrew Bulman in the opening minute of the match.

A quick Sam Dowsett run from dummy-half saw the ball go to Jake Moore who put in a grubber kick. Bulman was all too happy to collect and run down the touchline to score.

Connor Holliday, celebrating his 24th birthday, couldn’t convert.

It was Bulman who got the next score of the afternoon as a Callum Phillips break saw the ball flicked inside to Sam Forrester.

The half-back was tackled but the next play saw the ball swung out to the left and Bulman was in at the corner. Holliday was again unable to add the extras. But it was the Bears, who have already claimed the scalp of Workington, who got the next score.

Nicholas Newman stepped into exploit a gap in the Haven defence and grounded the ball. He converted his own try and levelled the scores soon after at 8-8 with a penalty.

It was the Bears who remained on top for the rest of the half and their efforts were rewarded just four minutes before the break as Sam Davis scored to edge them ahead. A four-point lead became six as Newman converted.

The second-half performance saw Haven out-enthuse the visitors and score five tries.

Forrester and man-of-the-match Moore scored two tries each, with a Jason Mossop effort in between.

Forrester’s two tries came in back-to-back sets to quickly swing the momentum back in the home side’s favour.

Forrester matched Newman’s effort of stepping back inside and straightening up to exploit the gap in the defence.

His second effort came after a Moore break. The pass inside, to escape the full-back, allowed Forrester an easier step under the sticks.

Holliday kicked his first goal of the afternoon’s proceedings after Forrester’s second score.

Jason Mossop eased the tension around the Recreation Ground with his score and Jake Moore allowed the home fans to breathe once more. Moore’s efforts came from breaks through a visibly tiring Bears’ defence.

Bulman looked to secure his third try of the afternoon but only outstanding, last-ditch defence put the winger in to touch.

The last word went to the visitors, however, as Elliot Hall took full advantage of some soft home defence to notch a four-pointer.

Match Facts

Haven: Taylor, Bulman, Mossop, Holliday, Thompson, Forrester, C Phillips, Shackley, Dowsett, Coward, B Phillips, Moore, Wilkinson

Subs: Aiye, Forster, Kelly, Maudling

Tries: Bulman (2), Forrester (2), Mossop, Moore (2)

Goals: Holliday (2)

Bears: Hall, Freeman, Jones, Williams, Carter, Davies, Newman, Takyi-Hindmrash, Conroy, Taylor, Kaufman, Sherratt, Barratt

Subs: Davis, Ray, Tully, Stewart

Tries: Newman, Davies

Goals: Newman (3)

Attendance: 915

Star Man: Jake Moore