The Self-Isolation Chronicles: Coventry Bears

1. Alan Robinson had a spell at Limoux Grizzlies.

You’d be forgiven for thinking Coventry Bears founding father Alan Robinson had never had an affiliation with another club. He in fact had a spell with Limoux Grizzlies in 2000, as the two-time Ireland international featured in France during the off-season. He would return to the Bears, following his short expedition, and would continue to play for the club until 2006. He has since held various off-field capacities and continues to head their set-up as director of rugby, having formed the club in 1998.

2. Only one player has played 100 professional games for the club.
It goes without saying that certainly Alan Robinson has played more than 100 games for the Bears but, in terms of only professional games, only one man has hit the centenary mark. Former captain Chris Barratt racked up his 100th game against London Skolars in 2019, having only missed one game between the 2015 and 2017 campaigns. He was a surviving member of the first League 1 squad for the club, before joining North Wales Crusaders in the off-season just gone.

3. They’ve had internationals for Ghana and the Netherlands.

Coventry have always had a vibrant squad from all corners of the UK, but most recently they have had a few international representations in their ranks. Former forward James Geurtjens (above), who joined the club in 2015 from Norths Devils, received international selection from Wales the same year, via his lineage and would also represent the Netherlands. He played in the 2017 and 2018 Griffin Cup victories, against Germany, and now works on developing the game in Ipswich, back in Australia. Current squad member Reece Rance also added international flavour to their side, featuring for Ghana in the 2019 Middle East Africa Championships, making two appearances. The club have also seen another of their former players, ex-Redcliffe Dolphins and Limoux player Paul Ivan feature for a vibrant Rugby League playing country, as he was capped by Hungary in 2017 and represented them in the 2018 Emerging Nations World Championships.

4. Henderson Gill’s nephew played for the club.

Those who remember Gill’s clinical career at Bradford, Rochdale and Wigan will be able to call various moments from his try-scoring exploits. Of course, the first time mention would be his famous try in the 1985 Challenge Cup final against Hull FC, as he raced the length of the field to touch down in the renowned Kenny-Sterling final. His try-scoring exploits would later be replicated by his nephew Jamahl Hunte at Coventry Bears, some three decades later. Hunte was part of the inaugural Bears squad for the 2015 League 1 season, and racked up 30 tries in 46 games to become the club record try-scorer. He re-joined the side in 2018 after a short spell out of the side and has since once more. He carried the family reputation with great promise and product.

5. They’ve only had one player who has played in the NRL.

Coventry have never been a club for big-name signings and they have instead preferred to call on players closer to home and particularly their developing hotbed in the Midlands. That recruitment philosophy has eventuated in only one former NRL player featuring for the club, while holding a permanent contract. In 2015, the club signed former North Queensland Cowboys outside back Simon Phillips (above, right) and he was instantly appointed captain. Phillips featured four times for the Cowboys, in 2002, and played over 200 Queensland Cup games for Wynnum Seagulls and Norths Devils. He also finished top scorer in the 2005 Queensland Cup, but was ultimately unable to replicate his form with the Bears. He featured only 15 times for the club in the 2015 season, before departing to Australia.