Bury go down 23-35 at play off contenders Canterbury. Report below...
By Nigel Birrell
A good performance saw the Wolfpack trailing by one point at the break.....
Bury travelled to second placed Canterbury for their penultimate away match of the season hoping to upset the home side’s unbeaten record at Merton Lane.
Bury started well with early inroads by Ben Cooper who was carrying strongly and earned the visitors a penalty after three minutes which Ben Leng converted.
Soon after the re-start, Canterbury attacked with full back Charlie Grimes breaking through the middle and gliding over the line to score under the posts which was converted – Canterbury 7 Bury St Edmunds 3. Bury had much of the possession during the first quarter of the match and kicked to touch on the Canterbury 5m line, the subsequent line out being stolen by the visitors but after pressure on the Canterbury line, the ball was knocked on and the first scrum after 11 minutes resulted in a penalty to the home side who cleared their lines.
Bury were retaining possession well and putting pressure on Canterbury with a number of phases after another line out on their 5 m line, however a scoring chance went begging with a forward pass. Bury continued to force the visitors to defend and a charge down when Canterbury tried to clear their lines, resulted in wing Levi Roper being released on the left wing to score in the corner, Canterbury 7 Bury St Edmunds 8, Ben Leng coming close with the conversion in difficult, windy conditions.
After 33 minutes, Canterbury visited the Bury 22 for the second time and scored from a penalty advantage which was converted, 14 – 8 to the home side. The visitors answered five minutes later when Levi Roper returned a favour by releasing Mark Kohler on the left wing to score in the corner which was unconverted and the teams went in at half time with score Canterbury 14 Bury St Edmunds 13.
Straight after the re-start, Bury continued the pressure and intensity of the first half and Jaid Wiltshire was alert to a Canterbury pass which was intercepted and he scorched to the corner. Ben Leng converted with an amazing kick from the touchline which was beautifully judged with a strong wind blowing, Canterbury 14 Bury St Edmunds 20. Bury continued to apply pressure to the home side turning over scrums and disrupting their attacks with a threatening line out and subsequent maul being repelled after 50 minutes. However, Canterbury started to apply more and more pressure and their patience was rewarded with a try scored by Sam Rogers after 56 minutes which was converted, Canterbury 21 Bury St Edmunds 20. Bury’s Ollie Watson who was returning after a long period out due to injury was replaced by Sean Davis, Ollie having had a great game, carrying well and seemingly everywhere on the pitch.
Canterbury secured their try bonus point with Dan Smart scoring in the corner which was converted by Ollie Best. Bury answered shortly after with a penalty earned by Sean Davis who held on to the ball limpet like when a Canterbury player failed to release on the floor. Ben Leng converted the resulting penalty and the score was Canterbury 28 Bury St Edmunds 23. Canterbury continued to up the intensity and scored again with Ricky Mackintosh racing to the corner, again converted by Ollie Best.
With 12 minutes to go, this was the final scoring opportunity of the match with Bury doing all they could in the final few minutes to get something from the encounter but the match ended with the score Canterbury 35 Bury St Edmunds 23.
Despite the loss, Bury performed very well with many positives to take forward to their next game versus London Irish Wild Geese at the Greene King IPA Haberden on Saturday 13th April, kick off 15:00 hrs.