Kingdom puts the boot in!
By Simon Lord
The Titans play off push looked in serious doubt as a fired up Home side never gave their loftier opponents a moments rest.
National League 2 South.
Bury St Edmunds 22 v Taunton.24
However, Gary Kingdom’s nerveless penalty on 78 minutes snatched victory for Taunton.
Bury had led from the 12th minute and looked like they finally might defeat Taunton at the 8th time of asking. Sadly it was not to be as the Titans held their nerve and eventually broke down a valiant Bury effort.
In a performance so removed from the previous week, Bury defended with real tenacity and looked so dangerous on the counter sharing three tries a piece with their promotion chasing opponents.
The opening 15 mins belonged to Bury. Fantastic work by Walker and Bixby to fell the giant Titan No 8 Sam Prior earned Bury a penalty. This was rewarded when the ball was quickly transferred from the line out to avoid the on rushing Taunton defence to put Ben Leng into space and the skipper left Kingdom flat footed as he side stepped his way over.
Limlei converted and then landed a straight forward penalty 3 minutes later as Bury’s pressure in defence forced Taunton into another mistake.
There was a real pace to the game, Bury looking to get the ball wide to the impressive Wiltshire and Stanway, whilst Taunton used big strike runners down the middle of the park. One wondered if both side would be able to maintain the pace for the full 80 minutes.
However as the half wore on it was Taunton that were the more threatening. Midfield offside allowed Taunton to kick into the corner and organise a controlled driving maul. Bury managed to thwart the initial thrusts but could not prevent Hayler from crashing over from close range.
It looked certain that Taunton would score again and yet somehow Bury survived! Toby East’s 70m break only faltered when a last gasp tackle forced a knock on. Stanway then countered for Bury only for the Titans to come back again with real vengeance! Prior burst off the side of a scrum taking several tacklers with him but again, fantastic last gasp defence forced the scoring pass to go forward.
However Bury continued to look dangerous on the counter. Davis and Uru made good ground but Bodkin was just tackled into touch as he dived for the line. Bury wouldn’t let the Titans escape and Leng did brilliantly to first catch a long flat pass, then loop round the cover defence to fix the last man and send Stanway in by the left corner.
HALF TIME. BURY 15 TAUNTON 7
The Titans came out all guns blazing for the second half and quickly got in touch when Woodward was driven over from close range after keeping the ball from the kick off.
It looked like the Titans would kick on but Bury continued to not give the visitors an easy ride. Walker led a superb defensive display that continued to thwart the dangerous Taunton attacks. Although on the back foot, Bury once again countered with real pace and had Stanway not put a foot in touch Wiltshire may have escaped for a score.
Taunton continued to make mistakes as they struggled to deal with the pressure being put on them by Bury. A hurried clearance from a line out on their own 22 landed in the arms of Jack Harvey. The diminutive scrum half weaved his way back into the red zone before the ball was moved left to Will Scholes. Quite how Alex Grey held onto his pass was one thing but to then break through two would be tacklers was another and he gleefully dived over the line to push Bury out to a 22 – 14 lead on the hour mark.
Crucially the Titans scored a third try themselves within minutes of Bury’s. A couple of clever off loads created the space for Baker to bundle over again from close range.
It set up a grandstand finish as Bury tried to hang onto their narrow lead. Scholes almost got over but was stopped inches short and the Titans then worked their way down field, turned the screw on up front to earn the crucial penalty for Kingdom to convert.
Heartbreak for the hosts and a huge sigh of relief for the West Countrymen.
Tries. Leng (12) Stanway (37) Grey (59)
Cons Limlei x 2 Pen Limlei
Tries. Hayler (20) Woodward (43) Baker (63)
Cons Kingdom x 3 Pen Kingdom
Star Man Jacob Bodkin – tireless in midfield defence.
Bury: Limlei, Wiltshire, Bodkin, Leng, Stanway, Ritchie, Harvey:
Robinson, Francombe, Coutts, Bixby, Scholes, Grey, Walker, Uru.
Res: Davis, Wilson, Graham, Johnson, Affleck .
Taunton. Kingdom,Struminski, Mason,East, Keay, Webb (cpt) Nash:
Baker, Francis, Dalton, John-Chapman, Ogden, Hayler, Woodward, Prior.
Res: Hamilton, Petch, England, Daly, Brown.