Bixby leads the fight back!
Three second half tries saw Bury claw their way back from a 20 – 9 deficit to grab a much needed victory.
In the end the home side did enough to deserve the victory but Red’s will have been frustrated that their performance did not at least earn a bonus point to take home to Bristol.
Heavy squally showers just prior to Kick Off made for slippery conditions, however Red’s made light of the 200 mile journey to burst out of the blocks and put Bury on the back foot.
The much larger visiting forwards adopted a physical ball carrying approach to try and break down the Wolfpack defence. Whilst it created possession and territory it did not quite have enough inventive to break down the Bury defence which creaked but stood firm.
A penalty for a high tackle allowed Ash Groves the chance to open the scoring with a straight forward kick from in front of the posts. Bury’s response was positive but too often the attacks were lateral ending with an aimless kick rather than keeping the ball and trying to winkle an opening. Stapleton and Corcoran did get Bury deep into the visitors half and when Red’s were guilty of kicking the ball out of a ruck, McBride levelled the scores.
The two fly half’s exchanged further penalties in a scrappy first period where neither side seemed able to retain possession. The difference between the sides was the commitment of the Red’s forwards to the break down. In attack they cleared out well giving Groves an armchair ride at 10, in defence they put men into the ruck making life difficult for half backs Navas and McBride.
On the stroke of half time the visitors deservedly took the lead. They were the more incisive team and when they earned a penalty in front of the posts, skipper and key player Ethan Doyle declined the obvious 3 points and instructed Groves to kick to the corner. A well worked catch and drive saw Hooker Kieran Ward spin off the side of the maul to dot down untouched. Groves superb touchline conversion left the healthy Haberden crowd subdued and nervous as the sides trotted off for their oranges.
BURY 6 OLD RED’S 13
The size and power of the visitors had caused Bury problems…
The hope, perhaps assumption was that they would tire…Irrespective of whether they would; Bury had to up their tempo and work the Reds much harder in defence.
Bury came out on the front foot, noticeably more positive in their attitude. Harrison and Meyers had been introduced to the fray and they made their presence felt but it was Sam Bixby who led a much more dynamic forward effort that caught the eye. His strong carry after good work by Meyers and a more patient approach was finally rewarded with a penalty after Lord was halted illegally when taking a quick tap penalty.
McBride slotted the kick but the Home euphoria was quickly burst when Red’s added a second try moments later. Dan Fry’s surging break caused Kohler to transgress and his back chat gave Groves an extra 10 metres to make his kick to the corner even easier. The line out routine worked well and flank forward Sam Hewick was bundled over amongst a mass of bodies. Again Groves converted from wide out and the Red’s had an unlikely 20 – 9 lead!
Bury responded in the best possible way. Having managed to win the re start Lord’s half break had interest added when Centre Kohler burst through the middle of the defence. Stapleton was up in support and he had just enough pace and then power to hold off two would be tacklers to score by the sticks.
One could noticeably detect the confidence flowing into the players following the score. It was so much better now from Bury. It was the Bury forwards who were now doing the ball carrying damage. Eddison off the bench, Brown and Uri – having his best game for Bury to date, began to cause the tiring defence problems.
Barely 5 minutes had passed before Bury scored again to take the lead for the first time in the match. Meyers strong carry earned Bury a penalty advantage and Lord quickly saw the opportunity to weave his way down the blind side and set up Club Captain Chris Snelling for a score in the corner. 21 – 20!
The strength of the bench, the upping of the tempo, the fitness of the visitors.., it was probably all three that meant it was Bury now in control for the final quarter of the match. McBride’s angled kick forced the Red’s to defend a line out just inside their 22. The line out was stolen, worked into midfield and Kohler burst through the tiniest of gaps to surge to the line. Having been tackled on the line he had just enough momentum to get the ball down as he was enveloped by Red shirts.
A sickening mid-air collision at the restart saw Snelling laid prone. Fortunately after a worrying few minutes, he was able to get to his feet and helped off the ground. Fraser Honey came on as replacement to make his debut for Bury and looked very much at home orchestrating two or three more promising attacks in the closing minutes. The closes one came when Kohler and McBride combined well to seemingly send Brown in for the bonus point earning 4th try but he could just not hold onto to the ball with the line at his mercy.
Bury 28 OLD REDS 20
A win is a win! After last week’s progression at Broadstreet, Bury certainly went backwards to go forwards today, but they stuck to their task and in the end did enough to get the points.