Coventry Bears

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Coventry Bears
Coventry Bears logo.svg
Club information
Full nameCoventry Bears Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s)The Bears
Founded1998; 21 years ago (1998)
Current details
CEODebbie Watson
Chairman Ireland Alan Robinson
CoachTom Tsang
ManagerConor Kelly
CaptainJames Geurtjans
CompetitionLeague 1
2018 season11th
Rugby football current event.png Current season
Home colours
Away colours

The Coventry Bears are a semi-professional Rugby League club based in Coventry, England, formed in 1998. Their major honours include winning the National League 3 title in 2004 (now called Rugby League Conference National Division) and the Rugby League Conference in 2002. They play at the Butts Park Arena, and run two open-age sides as well as a women's team and a selection of youth teams.


Coventry Bears were formed in 1998 by a group of university students led by Alan Robinson. They made an approach to Keith Fairbrother, the Coventry rugby union club’s Chairman and one time rugby league player, with a plan to form a team to play from Coundon Road Stadium.

The club were admitted into the Rugby League Conference for the 2000 season and were unbeaten by any club within their division. They then won their quarter-final against Manchester Knights before being narrowly defeated by only one point in the semi-finals at Super League club Warrington Wolves’ Wilderspool Stadium. Further success followed in 2001 with the Bears reaching the Grand Final at Webb Ellis Road, Rugby, only to lose out by a very narrow margin in a match against Teesside Steelers. The following season Coventry won the Rugby League Conference Grand Final in September 2002 when they beat Hemel Stags at Cheltenham. Following on from this success the club applied for, and won, elevation to the newly formed National League Three.

The Bears reached the National League Three Grand Final in 2004, winning comfortably. The following season Coventry Bears RLFC experienced difficulties and chose to resign from the National League to take time to rebuild and regroup. 2006 saw the return of the Bears as a Rugby League Conference Midlands Premier side, and the club finished the season in second place. They went on to beat Leicester Phoenix in the qualifying semi-final to set up a Midlands Grand Final with Nottingham Outlaws, which ended in defeat.

Coventry defeated Nottingham Outlaws in 2007 to win the Midlands Premier and also won the Kilkenny 9s, The Bears went on to finish as runners-up to St Albans Centurions losing 28-20 in the final of the Harry Jepson Trophy. In 2008, the Bears finished as runners up in the Midlands Premier to Nottingham. In 2010, Coventry linked up with Super League side Wigan Warriors.[1]

2015–present: League 1[edit]

They were accepted into the semi-professional ranks of League 1 for the 2015 season,[2] and entered their newly formed reserve side into the Conference League South in the same season. They finished their first semi-professional season in 12th place.


1998–2004: Coundon Road[edit]

The Bears moved into Coundon Road shortly after their formation in 1998. The ground had been owned and operated by sister rugby union club Coventry R.F.C. They stayed there for six years until the ground was sold and demolished in 2004. Both clubs moved out to the newly built Butts Park Arena at the other side of Coventry.

2004–present: Butts Park Arena[edit]

The Main Stand

The stadium was built in 2004 and currently has one stand, the East Stand, which has a capacity of 3,000 and includes a number of conference and banqueting facilities. The West Stand which was a temporary structure holding 1,000 was removed at the end of the 2005–06 season on grounds of health and safety.

2019 squad[edit]

Coventry Bears 2019 Squad
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coach

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 11 February 2018
Source(s): 2018 Squad Numbers

2019 transfers[edit]


Player Club Contract length Date
Australia Mitch Shaw Eastern Suburbs Tigers 1 year October 2018
England Jacob Jones London Broncos U19s 1 year October 2018
England John Sipawa N/A 1 Year November 2018
Australia Nick Newman Lakes United Seagulls 1 year November 2018
England Kameron Pearce-Paul London Broncos N/A November 2018
England Leon Harber Wigan Warriors N/A November 2018
England Elliott Hall London Skolars N/A November 2018
England Callum Merrett Gloucestershire All Golds N/A November 2018
England Jack Morrison Ince Rose Bridge 1 year November 2018
England Nathan Conroy Keighley Cougars 1 year November 2018
England Euan Tiernan N/A 1 year November 2018
England Kadeem Williams Hemel Stags 1 year November 2018
England Ollie Purslow London Skolars 1 year December 2018
England Niall Collett Midlands Hurricanes 1 year January 2019
England William Tully N/A 1 year January 2019


Player Club Contract length Date
England Brad Delaney York City Knights 1 Year November 2017[3]
Wales Ashley Bateman West Wales Raiders N/A October 2018
England Jason Bass York City Knights 1 year October 2018[4]
England Malikhi Lloyd-Jones London Skolars 1 year November 2018
Wales Liam Rice-Wilson West Wales Raiders N/A November 2018
England Dante Morley-Samuels North Wales Crusaders until end of season April 2019
Australia Mitchell Shaw West Wales Raiders Until end of season June 2019


Coventry Bears runs a reserve team that plays in the amateur Conference League South, the 4th tier of British Rugby League. The Bears were approached to run a team in an expanded Conference League South after the first team were admitted into the Championship 1, turning semi-professional. The reserves act as a pathway for players to make it to the first team and a professional career. The club plays its home matches at the Xcel Leisure Centre. They were coached in their debut season by James Carter. The club in its first season in Conference League South finished 4th.


Coventry Bears' junior teams take part in the Midlands Junior League.



Winners (1): 2004
  • RFL Midlands Division One:
Winners (1): 2013
  • RLC Midlands Premier:
Winners (3): 2007, 2009, 2010
  • RLC Midlands Division:
Winners (2): 2001, 2002
  • RLC Western Division:
Winners (1): 2000


  • Harry Jepson Trophy:
Winners (1): 2002


  • Midlands 9s:
Winners (1): 2007, 2009, 2013
  • Kilkenny 9s
Winners (1): 2007


  • RLC Women's Plate:
Winners (1): 2010
  • RLC Women's South Division:
Winners (1): 2011


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Coventry Bears: Rugby league side step up to Championship One". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  3. ^ "York City Knights announce TWO new arrivals while centre also stays another year". York Press. 11 November 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  4. ^ "York City Knights sign England Students internationals Marcus Stock and Jason Bass". York Press. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.

External links[edit]