Fun in the Sun!
By Simon Lord
Bury overwhelm the Channel Islanders
Bury ran in 12 tries against a hapless Guernsey side!
Had Cam Ritchie had his kicking boots on it would have been much worse for the Islanders, as it was, they did have the consolation of taking a bonus point home with them.
Few in the watching crowd could have predicted how events would unfold after Bury conceded a try after just 60 seconds! The kick off was knocked on, a player in front of the ball then picked it up, a penalty was conceded and moments later Hooker Tom Ceillam was being driven over the line by the Guernsey pack.
The response however was instant. Bury’s pace and angles of running would cause a makeshift Guernsey back line problems all day. After recycling the ball several times, Ritchie drew 2 defenders towards him before sending Ben Leng racing through for the score.
On a glorious sunny day, the visitors were hit with a whirlwind and in the next 15 minutes had conceded 4 more tries! On two occasions the defence were cut to ribbons, Kohler and Ritchie causing havoc to supply tries for Sharpe and Wiltshire to score respectively. Meanwhile Bury’s defence, led by Yas Browne, constantly forced Guernsey into mistakes and twice fumbles were seized upon to set up scores for Scholes and Wiltshire to add his second.
It was all going wrong for the Sarnians, summed up by a re start not going 10m and them having to once again defend for their lives. Their only route back into the game was to rely on their large forward pack. A penalty for midfield offside was kicked to 25metres and there then followed a series of driving mauls that finally resulted in Lewis Hillier been driven over. Gow’s conversion brought the score to 29 – 12 after 30 minutes but the game already looked over as a contest.
As if to emphasise that, Bury scored directly from the restart. Another fumble by the visitors was seized on and then Bury had the luck of the bounce when Leng’s downfield kick bounced away from Full Back Taylor and into the arms of Catuogno for an easy score.
Leng went close to adding a second after fabulous hands from Wiltshire but was dragged down short. However he was not to be denied and on the stroke of half time, he intercepted a laboured pass on his own 22 to race the length of the field for the 7th try!
BURY 41 GUERNSEY 12
It had been all too easy for Bury…Guernsey could not live with the pace of The Wolfpack and a catalogue of missed tackles and mistakes was not helping their cause. Bury’s challenge for the second half would be to not go chasing speculative tries, rather to stay structured and keep their discipline and the points would come.
Sam Bixby almost gave Bury a dream start but was stopped inches from the line, but white line fever took over and the chance was wasted. The escape handed the initiative to Guernsey and for nearly 20 minutes they were in control.
Bury struggled to get out of their own half as Guernsey looked for ways to break down the Green and Yellow defence. Offside once again allowed Guernsey to kick for territory and Second Row Nick Merrien was driven over all too easily for the visitors 3rd try. The game plan whilst limited, had generated a try and the challenge was to do it again and claim a 4th try which would earn a precious bonus point.
The pace of the game had slowed down, the crowd had gone quiet, just what Guernsey wanted…, calm after the storm.
Bury finally upped their intensity and once again pressurised Guernsey into mistakes. Wilthsire completed his hat trick when he comfortably intercepted another forced pass to stroll in from 30 metres. Within seconds the flying winger had added a 4th try! Bury fielded a clearance kick and then Kohler, Catuogno and Wiltshire combined well to send the latter in for the score.
Having had a period of dominance not really rewarded, the two quick-fire tries had broken the visitors! The Bury forwards continued to give plentiful supply to the three quarters and the backs ran riot. None more so than Mark Kohler, he was having a field day in breaking the line and his charge and then sublime angled kick was perfect for the calling Sharpe to run in for arguably the try of the day.
Still the tries flowed…Next it was Cam Ritchie to benefit after Kohler had looped round and sent Sharpe away, his kick ahead was not gathered by Taylor and Ritchie pounced on the bobbling ball.
With just 4 minutes remaining, Guernsey’s torrid day did finally gain some reward when they earned that crucial 4th try. A powerful scrum earned them a rare penalty and once again Bury failed to deal with a well organised catch and drive. Tom Ceillam made it a brace and secured a losing bonus point to take back over the water.
Bury deservedly had the last say on this high scoring encounter. Once again great pressing by the Bury defence forced Guernsey to cough up possession. Kohler scooped up the ball and fed Ritchie seemingly with nowhere to go, however the speedster set off on an arcing run that went round several tired defenders before straightening up and going in by the posts!
BURY 70 GUERNSEY 26
The win moves Bury up to 3RD in the table. There will be tougher challenges to come, but week on week Coach Jon Curry is seeing improvements and refining of his side. With 22 tries scored in just 3 matches, they are certainly enjoying themselves and entertaining the crowds.