Frustrating end to the season
Bury once again let slip a lead to fall to a third consecutive defeat.
National Division 2
Tonbridge Juddians 36 Bury St Edmunds 28
For the third week running Bury surrendered a winning position to slip to a frustrating defeat in central Kent.
In a game that almost summed up Bury’s season, the side showed glimpses of real quality, some dogged determination but also a lack of discipline and game management that cost them the win!
Having left the rain of the Suffolk, The Slade was surprisingly firm underfoot and with two sides with seemingly little to play for, it augured well for an entertaining match. Both sides had a score in the bag within the first ten minutes and a try fest beckoned…As it turned out the half did not pan out like that.
Bury opened the scoring after just 2 minutes. Bury won a penalty at the breakdown, kicked to the corner and then organised a driving maul well to power Sean Stapleton over for the score. Honey converted well from wide out, as he was to do all day!
TJ’s reduced the deficit not long later. Although Bury prevented the Home side copying their try, from the resulting scrum, the ball squirted out the side of the tunnel and No 8 Will Colderick pounced on the loose ball to dive over.
From the promising start, the half became a cagey affair with both sides testing each other out. TJ’s showed good continuity and ball retention to stretch Bury, whilst the Wolfpack looked to counter attack when the occasions arose. Lloret had one good break for Bury but his opposite number Tout was causing real problems for Bury, twice bursting through a series of tackles that he shouldn’t have.
Kohler saved Bury with a fabulous last ditch tackle as Bury were becoming increasingly under the cosh. TJ’s deservedly took the lead just before the half hour mark.., a seemingly standard attack on the halfway line didn’t appear to be threatening but when the ball was passed wide, Second Row Irvine galloped away from a non existent defence to then supply the supporting Coxon – Smith for the score. 10 – 7 to the home side.
Bury’s response was swift and within 2 minutes had regained the lead. TJ’s were pressurised into conceding a line out from the Kick Off. The ball was sent right where Kohler made an initial half break and then stayed on his feet to give his forwards a target. Tristan King drove the ball on before slipping the ball inside for Craig Wilson to burst through and then sidestep the full back for a cracking score. Honey converted comfortably.
Bury ought to have added to their tally before the break. Honey’s show and go got Bury deep into the Home side’s half and when TJ’s were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle, The Wolfpack had the chance to convert a penalty opportunity. For want of a better term, Bury “butchered the opportunity”. Over elaboration and a lack of patience resulted with Bury being penalised for going off their feet, despite being inches from the try line!
TJ 10 BURY 14
The second half had hardly got going when an ugly off the ball incident resulted in a scuffle. After consultation with his Assistant, Referee Jack Sutton showed a Yellow Card to Sean Stapleton but a Red to TJ’s Full Back Sam Atiola!
It was TJ’s however who seemed to deal with being a man down better first. A couple of promising breaks was halted by a thunderous tackle by Salva Lloret on No8 Colderick and when TJ’s tried to attack quickly from the break down, Dwayne Corcoran picked off an optimistic pass to race in untouched from 40 metres.
Bury now led by 21 – 10 and with Stapleton soon to return, seemingly in a commanding position. A feisty home side refused to accept their fate and the collisions in midfield resulted in several stoppages as players were treated for bumps and bruises.
Bury lacked the game management to deal with a fired up powerful Home side. Compare that with replacement fly half Liam Prescott who kept his side going forward with cleaver kicks and simple attacking options. Bury were suddenly under pressure on their own try line and a series of penalties allowed the Home pack to turn the screw until Hooker Ryan Jackson was powered over. Prescott’s touchline conversion drew the score back to 21 -17
Having dusted themselves down, Bury then seemed to find their mojo and work out that if they stretched the home side a gap ought to appear against 14 men. Controlled possession on their own 22 allowed skipper McBride to see the mis match out left and he sprinted away. Kohler took the ball on passed to Corcoran who carried further before chipping the ball back towards Kohler to gather and dive over! A glorious score and with the conversion it was 28 – 17 to the visitors and all looking good for the healthy travelling support.
The pivotal moment in the game came 2 minutes later! Bury once again had unpicked the Home defence and Kohler was again racing away with Corcoran on his shoulder. A try surely beckoned but last defender Lawson gambled and intercepted Kohler’s pass to sprint in for a try by the corner flag. From what might have been 35 – 17, it was instead, 28 – 22!
Ten minutes to go and both sides would have felt they had the chance to win the game, but the momentum seemed to have swung towards the Home side.
TJ’s began to get on the front foot and Bury began conceding a string of penalties in response. The ball was kicked to the corner and so began a series of drives for the line that were stopped but often at the expense of another penalty. Finally the dam had to break. Prescott went for the line after another attacking line out and although he was held up, he managed to cleverly offload the ball to the supporting Sullivan to crash over. Prescott then converted to put TJ’s back in the lead for the first time since the 27th minute.
The closing 6 minutes was painful viewing. Having led for so long, the game was slipping away and as Bury’s discipline continued to let them down TJ’s scored again to clinch the game.
TJ’s forwards were in the ascendancy and having kicked once again into the corner one felt it was only a matter of time before the score arrived. When it did it was slightly controversial. Bury did not challenge an attacking line out and let TJ’s drive into their own men…Referee Sutton did not agree and despite protests the ball was driven over for the score. Prescotts conversion from wide out was massive as it meant the lead was 8 points and would prevent Bury from being able to overhaul with just one play of the match remaining.
Bury did press for a 5th try that would have added a further losing bonus point but it was not to be… A fumble allowed the ball to be kicked from the field to cap a fine debut season for TJ’s in National 2 but a slightly frustrating one for Bury.
For several of The Wolfpack they are now moving on to pastures new, so it was a shame that they bowed out in defeat but the club thanks them for all their efforts and wish them well in their future rugby careers.