Grassroots club focus: Coventry Bears
Coventry Bears are a club currently enjoying some good form, most notably after a memorable weekend where their first team beat the Conference League 3 leaders Hemel Stags 38–8.
The Stags were on a twelve match unbeaten run, so the win sent shockwaves through the league.
Not to be outdone, the Bears Women's team played two matches at the weekend, on Saturday beating close rivals Nottingham Outlaws away, and also beating Castleford Panthers at home on Sunday.
The club's Under-14s also played their first full 13-a-side match against Northampton, with a thumping 56-16 win.
Add to that the Under-16s team who sit second in their league, and the Under-18s who top theirs.
The Bears also have a Men’s A team competing in the Midlands Premier which forms a pathway in the club from Under-11s all the way to the highest level available in the Midlands region.
Participation and enjoyment of the sport is thriving in Coventry, as club director Alan Robinson highlights: “We have a great set of players at the moment, not just in the senior teams but throughout every squad.
“It shows just how well you are established in the local community when you can get over 100 people turning up at training to represent the club. The hard work put in by the coaching staff to make sure this continues can only give us a great future in Coventry.”
The Bears now have senior players from all over the Midlands, and indeed the world with players from a number of countries.
Two success stories from this season are Jamaican International Tyrone Rowe and Phillipines Captain Luke Srama, brother of Matt Srama of NRL side Gold Coast Titans.
Tyrone has family links in Birmingham while Luke was brought in to strengthen the squad from a technical point of view.
With recent successes on the pitch, the Bears have been putting an equal amount of work in off it. Community is the main focus for the club, and partnerships with Coventry RFC, Coventry Sports Foundation and Coventry University have all helped in giving the Bears the firmest footing in the city.
The Bears play out of the 3,000 seater Coventry RFC Butts Park Arena ground, and use Coventry Sports Foundation's Xcel Centre as their training base, which enables the club to train and manage all squads in a top class base and provide a great match day experience.
The club has also just launched a new local partnership with local club Leamington Royals, the Royals have been doing a great job pioneering the sport in South Warwickshire, the link will see coach development and pathways developed between the two clubs.
The profile of the Coventry Bears is of equal importance to the playing side. The club recently recruited a new press and media manager Chris Norris, who has been doing a fantastic job promoting Rugby League in the city.
Lifelong Rugby League follower and media professional Chris said: “We've got a great brand with so much potential here at the Bears, one which the people of Coventry, and our supporters everywhere are really embracing at the moment.
“We've got close to 1,000 Facebook followers, we're really busy with Twitter providing the latest Bears news and live score updates from every match. We've launched our official fan club The Roar, and fans can catch up on match highlights on our BearsTV channel on YouTube.
'We've set the bar quite high in terms of getting our name out there, so it's great to see the hard work paying off and the Bears badge becoming well known in the wider Rugby League arena and national media.
“And we can't forget the huge role our fans have played in spreading the word. We've only just touched the tip of the iceberg so lots more to come as we continue to grow and develop as a club, there are some exciting times ahead.”
Coventry Bears are aiming to make big progress in all areas as they chase Championship and professional status.
New income streams such as a lottery scheme launched this summer, and new sponsors are helping this become reality. The Bears would like to thank BBT and all of their sponsors for the fantastic support and faith shown in the journey so far.
You can find out more about the Coventry Bears here: