5 months ago
By Nigel Birrell
5 tries to send the large crowd home happy.
Bury overcame a physical Clifton side by 5 tries to three to make it three wins in a row for The Wolfpack.
In a game of contrasting styles, it was Bury’s superior defence that was the difference between the two sides, despite them losing three men to the bin during the course of 80 minutes.
From early on Clifton elected to use the driving maul as a primary source of attack, whilst Bury looked far more potent out wide. Bury lost skipper Liam McBride to the bin for a high tackle after just 4 minutes but despite this they took a 6 point lead courtesy of two Fraser Honey penalties.
Brendan Mitchell and Sam Bixby in particular were putting is some mighty hits in defence, often forcing the visitors into turning over possession. Clifton were still however not to be underestimated and after an aimless bout of kicking from both sides, lock Hamish Renwick burst through a tackle and raced off down field. The second row showed admirable speed and was hauled down only 5 metres from the line by a desperate Dwayne Corcoran tackle.
Somehow Bury survived the resulting scrum and then went on the counter attack. Clifton Right Wing Ian Clark was shown a Yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball down and his side was punished as Bury scored from the resulting penalty. The penalty was kicked close to the visitors line and debutant Tristan King worked a clever line out move with Will Scholes to bundle over in the corner.
Clifton won the restart and immediately put Bury under pressure. A kickable penalty was declined, instead the Lavender and Blacks went for the try. A strong catch and drive was only halted illegally, Will Scholes sent to the bin for his part in the misdemeanour and Clifton opted to now scrum 8 v 7. Again Bury dug in and managed to survive!
The tenacity in Bury’s defence earned them the next score. As Clifton continually struggled to break down a stubborn defence, a hurried kick was charged down by Anderson – Brown on half way. The ball was hacked downfield, and although full back Hubert was first to the ball, the chasing Bury players hounded him into conceding possession and the ball was sped straight to Corcoran for a simple run in. Honey’s simple conversion stretched Bury’s lead to 18 points.
Clifton did manage to get on the scoresheet just before the break. Again they went to type, catching and driving almost 20 metres before No 8 Andrew Chesters was able to force the ball down against the post protectors for a converted try.
HALF TIME BURY 18 CLIFTON 7
Clifton had shaded the possession charts but hadn’t been able to convert that into points. The second half picked up where the first had ended, Clifton earning a penalty at a scrum and then trying to catch and drive for the line. Bury stood up to the challenge well and gradually worked their way into the Clifton half. Mitchell’s great take at the back of a lineout set Bury away on the attack but there seemed little on when Clifton Fly Half Leversley launched a high kick in return…
Chris Lord had other ideas, he first leapt highest to win the ball, then he weaved his way from the would be tacklers before turning on the after burners to arc round his opposite number and score by the posts!
Despite trailing 25 – 7, Clifton still seemed insistent on trying to dominate in the scrum rather than work out how to prise opens the miserly defence. Penalties were earned, but it was in their own 22 and of no real danger to Bury.
After almost 20 minutes of battering away at Bury, Clifton finally showed some invention to send Brad Barnes through a gap. The centre was dragged down but this time Sam Bixby was shown a yellow for deliberately slowing the ball down. With the extra man up front, this time the Clifton catch and drive proved too strong and flanker Rhys Luckwell was driven over from 5 metres.
Any comeback hopes that Clifton might have entertained were dashed directly from the kick off. Eddison’s chased the deep kick off well and his presence forced Clark into knocking on. Although Bury could not take advantage initially they scored from the resulting scrum. The ball was recycled 12 phases before Mitchell burst his way through the initial line of defence. Quick hands from Rouse and Lord sent the returning Chris Snelling over in the corner for the bonus point. Honey’s excellent touchline conversion put icing on the cake.
Clifton refused to lie down but once again the pressure exerted by the Bury defence forced a fumble from the visitors. The Wolfpack’s scrum was solid, Honey linked well with McBride who then threw out a glorious pass to Lord. The Full Back had Corcoran in support but he did not need him, instead using the winger as a foil he sauntered over. Honey’s dependable boot pushed Bury out to 39 points
Clifton did manage to get over the line with 5 minutes to play courtesy of scrum half Jack Pinker, but there was to be no repeats of the Worthing fiasco this time around. The game ended with Bury on the front foot pressing for a 6th try but this time it was they that could not force over a catch and drive.
FULL TIME BURY 39 CLIFTON 17
Another good win for The Wolfpack which will put them in good stead for their trip to Henley next week. The Hawks will be on a high as they defeated previously unbeaten Taunton, a tough challenge waits.
Updated 15:16 - 29 Dec 2017 by michael robinson