Bury hold off the Raiders!
By Simon Lord
A nervy end but Bury win on the road.
National League Division 2
Worthing Raiders 22 Bury St Edmunds 24
Bury survived a nervous last 8 minutes to claim victory on the South Coast
Neither side played with the fluency they are often associated with, so the game therefore, never really developed as a spectacle until the closing moments when the tension levels rose.
It had been hoped that the two mid table teams would throw of the shackles and produce an entertaining game, but the error count from both sides resulted in numerous stoppages, not aided by an official who seemed intent in getting his messages across, rather than letting the game flow.
The match started in disastrous fashion for Bury as they shipped a try within 45 seconds of the Kick Off. Jack Harvey’s box kick was a little too deep, but that didn’t account for some woeful defending as Fly Half Matt Mclean ran almost 50m without a hand being placed on him for a try!
Stung into action Bury began to put pressure on the hosts but a mis firing line out twice allowed Worthing to escape. The game was fast, but far too loose for Bury’s liking and silly mistakes were costing them. What was good was Bury’s kick chase, one of which forced Worthing into conceding a 5m scrum. Sam Bixby drove well off the back of the scrum to create the space for Jaid Wiltshire to go over for the first of his two tries.
Anton Limlei converted and then 5 minutes later scored himself to stretch Bury out to a 14 – 5 lead. A solid line out just inside the Worthing half was sped out to Ben Leng who timed his pass perfectly to send Mark Kohler racing away. The winger was dragged down 10 metres short but the Wolfpack support players were up quickly and Limlei strolled over.
Bury were playing the better rugby of the two sides but as before, both sides were guilty of giving away silly penalties that saw Mclean and Limlei exchange penalties before the break.
Half Time Worthing 8 Bury 17
The second period again got off to a scrappy start before Bury scored a glorious try after 6 minutes. Tui Uru did really well to deflect a line out Bury’s way before Pat Robinson then made good yards down the middle of the field. The ball was then sent left and once again Ben Leng timed his pass superbly to create the space for Wiltshire to run into. The speedster then had enough pace to just get over the line before the cover tacklers arrived.
With Limlei once again adding the extras, things looked rosy for Bury at 24 – 8 up.
However, the resulting re start saw Bury penalised for offside and Worthing took advantage to kick to the 22m line. The ball was then worked in field before weak tackling once again allowed Left Wing Curtis Barnes in for a soft try.
For the remaining 30 minutes of the match it was Worthing that looked the more threatening, but neither side really created many attacks of note.
An unseemly squabble involving several players resulted in a yellow card being shown to Worthing’s Forrest, but quite why it took the officials so long to come to that decision was a mystery.
Both sides pressed for scoring opportunities but were let down by a combination of little mistakes and the regular sound of the referees whistle.
It appeared the game was drifting to an uneventful conclusion until with 8 minutes to go Worthing rounded of a penalty advantage with some deft handling to create the space for Barnes to squeeze over by the corner flag. Matt Mclean’s tremendous conversion into the strong cross wind suddenly made it a 2 point game.
Worthing smelt blood but Bury remained calm – certainly on the pitch, not quite so for the healthy number of supporters who had made the trip. Kohler and Wiltshire made half breaks to keep Worthing at arms length and then for the closing two minutes Bury retained the ball recycling over and over again before Cam Ritchie, having checked with the official, called for the ball and kicked into touch for full time.
FULL TIME WORTHING 22 BURY 24
Bury have played far better than this season and lost this season, so to collect 4 points away from Home is always welcome and perhaps reward for those games that go against one.
On the neighbouring pitch The Wolfhounds made it a double by defeating their Worthing counterparts 31 - 24, a late try flattering the hosts.