Clifton 30 Bury 8
By Simon Lord
For the second time in a fortnight, Bury made the long trip to the West Country, but unlike the stirring display at Taunton, they returned with little
For the second time in a fortnight, Bury made the long trip to the West Country, but unlike the stirring display at Taunton, they returned with little credit in the bank this time around.
Cllifton, one of the oldest clubs in the RFU and with strong links to Championship side Bristol, were a well drilled, organised side, but were given an easy ride by a Bury side that made too many errors. As the Suffolk side have discovered already to their cost, make a mistake at this level and you are punished, and a poor first half performance left them with too much to do in the second half.
After an encouraging win last time out, Coach Gav Hogg took the chance to rotate his squad and try out some different combinations. Marshall and Graham came in at the Half Back positions, Andrews replaced Lord on the wing and a debut was handed to Dave Micklethwaite on the flank.
The visitors made a bright start, making light of the 7.30am departure time! Davey and Goatley made good ground to put Hema into space, whilst Snellings fine break faltered as the final pass went astray, two good chances, but not taken!. Clifton’s first meaningful attack saw them come away with points, midfield offside allowed Barnes to land a simple penalty.
Bury had their chances to restore the deficit but too often they kicked away possession, handing back the initiative to a now confidant home side. Another penalty for going off their feet at a ruck, saw Bury concede a line out 10 metres out. The Clifton catch and drive was sound and prop forward Bullimore was powered over! A potential second try shortly after was ruled out as Caven was adjudged to be in front of the kicker as he won the race to Barnes clever kick through.
Just after the mid point of the half, Bury got a foot hold in the game. A series of well constructed drives took Bury deep into Clifton territory and Graham made no mistake from a cynical penalty by the retreating Lavendar and Blacks…10 – 3 and all to play for….
From an opportunity to get back in the game, Bury handed the initiative straight back to Clifton! The re start sailed over the forwards, was fumbled by the winger and resulted in a scrum to the home side 13 metres out. The defence was sucked in and what seemed a regulation backs move found full back Pomphrey in acres of space to glide over. 30 seconds of hope turned into an ominous 17 – 3 score line.
The home side had done their home work on the Bury three quarters… getting off the line quickly and suffocating any potential promising attacks. Hema finally broke free of the shackles bursting through a gap only to see the supporting Josh Walker, tackled off the ball by Barnes. The move came to nought but Barnes was shown the Yellow card for his part in the build up. The last few minutes of the half saw Bury trying to press home their numerical advantage, but twice final passes went astray.
CLIFTON 17 BURY 3
Hogg rang the changes at the interval, Meyers, Gleeson and Le Roy entering the fray… However Bury’s inability to deal with the Kick Off came back to haunt them. A lost line out followed by not releasing in the tackle allowed Wells to extend the lead within 2 minutes of the re start with a penalty.
A solid Bury scrum inside the Cliftron half came to nothing as once again Bury’s catch pass accuracy was poor. Barnes returned to the field with Bury having failed to make the 10 mins count.
As the half wore on, Clifton began to make their superiority count at the scrum. They really began to turn the screw up front but were met with stubborn resistance in midfield as Goatley and Meyers halted several promising attacks.
Meyers then made a superb 50 metre break to put Bury in striking distance of the try line. Another Yellow followed as Pomphrey was deemed to be deliberately offside to prevent a potential try. However once again Bury failed to capitalise on the extra man making a hash of try scoring opportunities.
Via their dominant scrum, Clifton cleared their lines and when Stapleton was adjudged to have not released in the tackle, Barnes made it 23 – 3. Still 20 minutes to play and hopes of any points from the day looking a distant memory for Bury…
To their credit they plugged away at the Clifton line. Davey made some hard yards to earn a penalty 12 metres out but the line out communication malfunctioned. Another penalty was earned and this time, with just over 5 minutes remaining, Meyers managed to force his way over wide on the right. A small victory for persistence, but a token of what might have been…..
The game was never in doubt but Clifton were keen to try and secure the 2 further tries that would generate the additional bonus point. it was not to be, although with the final play of the match a scrum 10 metres out allowed No 8 Mike Uren to pick up and put his brother Andy Uren over in the corner. Barnes audaciously drop kicked the conversion in the hope of saving time, but referee decided there was no further time.