Last gasp victory
By Simon Lord
See below, Neil Irelands excellent report
On day in Bristol where four seasons worth of weather was served up, Bury St Edmunds came away with a last gasp win, having been behind for the whole match before their 79 minute winning try.
The match kicked off with Bury playing up the slope against the strong and occasionally gale force wind. Within two minutes they were 7-0 down, Old Reds having scored from a line out with the ball making its way to Kieran Hill who danced his way through the Bury defence to dive under the sticks. He then converted his own try. Straight from the restart, ORs received the ball in their 22, but their kick to clear was charged down by Bury 10 Nick Perez who scooped up the ball to score, with the conversion being kicked by Cam Ritchie and honours were even.
After a breathless start to the game, the first scrum came with 6 minutes on the clock, Bury conceding a penalty which was kicked into the corner by their opponents. OR caught and drove, their hooker Kieran Ward peeling off the back of the maul to score converted by their other Kieran (Hill), the score now being 14-7 with 9 minutes gone. The indicators were there for a high scoring game, despite the conditions. Bury continued to creak at scrum time with ORs taking advantage of this by scoring next. No8 Ethan Joyce peeled of the back of a scrum to score which was converted by Hill – 21-7.
Bury scored next at twenty minutes with a cross field kick by Nick Perez towards the OR 5 m line which they took in to touch. Bury won the line out and after several phases, Mikey Graham crashed over to score with Cam Ritchie slotting the conversion. OR scrum half Kiyan Wiltshire was sent to the sin bin for a stamp on Bury captain Yasin Browne. However, another period of OR pressure after half an hour resulted in a penalty try to earn the home side a try bonus point, with Bury 3 Andrea Pozzi being yellow carded for ‘repeated infringements’. On came Toby Hill to maintain the Bury front row, with Jordan Coombes who had a notably solid afternoon being sacrificed. Just before half time, Bury’s Cam Ritchie broke down the left pursued by three OR players and despite their attentions managed a beautiful offload which reached Finlay Sharpe who scored under the posts, the subsequent conversion being made by Ritchie. So in both teams went at half time with the score at 28-21.
At the start of the second half, the warm dry wind was replaced by gale force winds and cold sideways rain. Bury drew level at 50minutes when OR were penalised for being offside and Mikey Graham scored in the corner from the subsequent line out. Cam Ritchie converted with an astonishing kick from the touchline with the wind whipping across the pitch as strong as ever. A period of intense pressure from the hosts ensued however the Bury scrum was starting to hold its own and excellent defence from the East Anglian side kept ORs out, particularly notable being Mark Kohler whose line speed and controlled ferociousness in defence stopped ORs getting through on several occasions.
For about 15 minutes, ORs were camped on the Bury line with 20 minutes to go but the visitors did not panic and with their scrum holding fast, they did not concede any points and eventually cleared their lines. At 73 minutes ORs broke down the left hand side but a try saving tackle from yes, you know who Mark Kohler stopped their 14 in his tracks. With four minutes to go, Bury conceded a penalty on their 22 and OR fly half Hill calmly kicked over to give the home side a 31-28 lead.
There was more drama to follow with ORs conceding a penalty for a high tackle which was kicked into their corner. Bury battered the OR line from the line out and their control and patience paid off when the defending side were sucked in to defend, leaving four or five Bury players lined out to the right waiting to score but it was Mark Kohler who dived over under the posts to secure the win, the following conversion being good.
So a hard fought bonus point win against a tough OR side with things to work on but it was a happy bus for Bury on the four hour journey back to Suffolk.
Player of the day – Mark Kohler