The All Golds fought back from 28-12 down to beat Coventry Bears 30-28 in an epic encounter at the Prince of Wales stadium on Saturday.

By Patrick Baines, image courtesy of Lewis Mitchell

Jack Mitchell was the hero for the home side, his try five minutes from time and touchline conversion sealed a remarkable comeback for the All Golds who trailed 16-0 at the break and 28-12 with just 15 minutes remaining.

Coventry, who were looking for their first away win of the season, will wonder how they let this one slip. For the first hour they were dominant, their half back pairing of Paul Emanuelli and Brad Delaney controlled the game while the All Golds looked devoid of ideas in attack.

Reflecting on the comeback All Golds head coach Lee Greenwood said the players deserved all the credit. He said: “That was completely down to the character of the lads. I’d love to say it was something we did in the dugout but it wasn’t. We kept hold of the ball for most of that last quarter and scored plenty of points. We we nowhere near our best so to get the win is massive.

“It would have been very easy for us to have downed tools when we were 16-0 and 28-12 down but we never stopped believing. We were much more structured and organised in the second half which was pleasing. We spoke about how Coventry have struggled this season so we knew as soon as we put some pressure on them we’d score.

“We still managed to make things really hard for ourselves late on. We ran a really poor set then kicked right down the throat of the Coventry player. We conceded two penalties late on that could have made it 30-30 but Coventry missed the first one then decided to run the other one.

“If we would have lost today we’d no chance of making the Shield final. It will still be tough with away games at Hunslet and London Skolars but we’ll keep fighting.”

The Bears took the lead at the end of the first quarter when, off the back of a Billy Gaylor 40-20, Matthew Reid powered over from close range. Delaney added the extras.

Dalaney’s partner in the halves – Paul Emanuelli – then made it 10-0 after intercepting a loose pass from the home side and running the length of the field to touchdown in the corner. 10-0 soon became 16-0 as Chris Barratt crossed with Delaney adding the extras. The All Golds were enjoying plenty of possession but they lacked the killer instinct in attack.

The home side finally got themselves on the scoreboard in the 45th minute when influential captain Steve Parry managed to outmuscle the Bears defence and touchdown. Jack Mitchell converted but any hope of an All Golds’ comeback seemed unlikely as the Bears went up the other end and scored. The impressive Delaney gathered a chipped kick and fed Michael Russell who raced clear. Delaney added the goal to give his side a 22-6 lead.

Parry then set up Harry Kidd who smashed his way over from close range to give the home side hope but again they lost the momentum when Hayden Freeman gathered a chipped kick to touch down. Delaney converted from out wide as the Bears looked on course for their first win on the road this season.

Then came the comeback. On 65 minutes Steve Parry burrowed over from dummy half for his second try of the game then just three minutes later Joe McClean touched down. Jack Mitchell converted both scores as the home side moved within four points of the Bears.

The winning try came on 75 minutes when Mitchell, who finished the game with a 100% kicking record, ran a great line to touch down in the corner. He converted from the narrowest of angles, moving the home side into a 30-28 lead.

That wasn’t the end of the action though. Coventry had two chances to force a draw, first a penalty 40 metres out that narrowly missed. Then, with just 30 seconds remaining, they won another penalty right in front of the sticks but chose to run it. The Golden Fern kept the Bears at bay though to record one of the most important wins of the season so far.

All Golds:

1 Phil Cowburn

2 Mo Agoro

3 Kadeem Williams

4 Lewis Reece

5 Chris Barlow

6 Jack Mitchell

7 Danny Fallon

8 Malikhi Lloyd-Jones

9 Steve Parry

10 James Walter

11 Chris Worrall

12 Joe McClean

13 Billy Brickhill

Subs (all used)

14 Brad Hargreaves

15 Ross Price

16 Harry Kidd

17 Harrison Elliott

Tries: Parry (45, 64), Kidd (53), McClean (68), Mitchell (75)

Goals: Mitchell 5/5


Coventry Bears

1 Michael Russell

5 Jamahl Hunte

3 Jason Bass

4 Mathew Reid

2 Hayden Freeman

6 Paul Emanuelli

7 Brad Delaney

17 Brad Brennan

9 Billy Gaylor

24 Patrick Jones

11 Kieran Sherratt

12 Chris Barratt

13 Zak Williams

Subs (all used)

14 James Kelly

10 Jack Morrison

8 James Geurtjens

16 Dan Gover

Tries: Reid (18), Emanuelli (31), Barratt (37), Russell (49), Freeman (60)

Goals: Delaney 4/6

Penalty count: 7-7

Half-time: 0-16

Referee: G Poumes

Scoring sequence: 0-6, 0-10, 0-16, 6-16, 6-22, 12-22, 12-28, 18-28, 24-28, 30-28