An unfortunate start to the season
League debutants, Tonbridge Juddians, showed their determination in a 17-50 clash at the Haberden.
There was a good atmosphere at the Haberden before the new season kicked off with the clubhouse looking very smart and lots of questions being asked about the current lack of a stand, don’t worry people we will have one again soon.
More talk however was being made about the new coaching set up. Head coach, Ollie Smith, had impressed the pre-match diners by giving a speech and bringing some players along to introduce themselves. This seems to suggest that Ollie is trying to take the club in almost a more professional direction.
The Wolfpack were lined up to face off against newly promoted Tonbridge Juddians who even from the pre-match warm up were keen to stamp their mark on the league. This was the first ever game that Tonbridge would play in National League 2 in their club history and their enthusiasm showed.
Bury started the game well, pressuring Tonbridge into conceding 3 penalties within the first 10 minutes. Tonbridge had a shot at a drop goal, but it went just wide of the posts. Bury kept up the pressure as Tonbridge had gained possession, but the league newcomers showed resilience and scored a well worked try in the 14th Minute. Following the reset, Tonbridge carried on building momentum and pressurising the Bury defence, leading Tonbridge to score a further 3 tries but only 2 of the conversions. Tonbridge completed their first half of National League 2 leading Bury 0-26 at the half time interval.
There must have been a rousing team talk in the changing room at half time because at the start of the second half, Bury came out fighting, with great attacking play that put Tonbridge on the back foot. Bury capitalised with their refreshed attacking play, with Dwayne Corcoran cutting past multiple Tonbridge defenders, scoring a well worked try and putting Bury’s first points of the day on the board. Liam McBride put the conversion between the posts to bring the score up to 7-26. Minutes later Bury looked on for another try with a lovely chip and kick however the ball was just too long for the pursuing player to reach and went dead. The visitors responded by putting a penalty between the posts just 3 minute’s later.
Bury were not to be out done however and responded less than a minute later by running a strong attacking line at the Tonbridge defence and Chris Lord ran in to score a well worked try from wing. Liam McBride hit the conversion again to take the score up to 14–29. Bury continued to keep up the pressure, with a strong performance from the Bury scrum that forced Tonbridge to concede a penalty and Liam McBride put the ball between the posts to bring the score up to 17–29. This lovely phase of play made it look like Bury could beat the visitors at their own game and grab victory from the jaws of defeat….however it wasn’t to be.
At the restart, Tonbridge responded well to the pressure and started to drive forward leading to increased stress on the Bury defence, despite the visitors conceding multiple penalties. Although Bury put up a valiant defensive effort, Tonbridge kept building momentum, which they capitalised on with some great runs at the Bury pack and exploiting weaknesses, scoring 3 more tries from the wing and getting the 3 conversions. This ensured Tonbridge took the victory on the day of their first ever game in the National League 2 with a score line of 17-50.
Whilst the result was obviously not what Bury would have wanted, there were great phases of play shown and with hard work on the training field and an embedding in of the new signings, the Wolfpack will be able to really show their strengths in attack and defence in full force. This was just one game of many this season and whilst the result was disappointing for the team and fans alike it gives some form of benchmark for the standard of opposition this season. No doubt Bury will train hard this week and come out all guns blazing on 9th September 2017 away to Broadstreet who, despite being promoted from National League 3 at the end of last season, have played in National League 2 on several occasions. This however this will be the first time that the Wolfpack have faced them in the league.