Match Report – Henley v Bury St Edmunds
Bury visited 3rd place Henley for the last game of the season and kicked off into a stiff wind blowing down the Dry Leas pitch. The kick off was knocked on and the first scrum saw Bury dominate this set piece as they would all afternoon. The early pressure was with Bury who attacked the Henley line but good defence by the home side saw the visitors kept out. The first quarter of the game was a real arm wrestle with both sides defending well, however after several concerted attacks, former Bury front rower Brad Cook broke through the centre to score for the hosts, with the conversion being good. Henley continued to press Bury and only good defence keeping them out. Yasin Browne carried well and Bury launched attacks but Henley were able to rip the ball and clear their lines. This was an issue for Bury who had the ball ripped from them on several occasions.
After 28 minutes, Bury earned a penalty when the home team collapsed a maul which was kicked in to the corner and Bury successfully caught the subsequent line out and drove towards the line. However the Henley hooker was sin binned when referee Mr Wrigley lost his patience with their repeated infringements. Bury chose the scrum option and destroyed their opponents and earned a penalty try, reward for the pressure they had been exerting.
Henley scored after 35 minutes after a scrum on the Bury 5m line, Sam Lunnon going over with the conversion being missed. So at half time the score was Henley 12 Bury St Edmunds 7.
The home team got off to a great start when full back O Neill scored after several phases and he converted his own try. This good start continued when O Neill scored again after 51 minutes with some sublime interplay and the conversion was good – Henley 26 Bury St Edmunds 7. Soon after, Henley scored again with captain Albon offloading to scrum half Webb who scored and the conversion was successful, the score now being Henley 33 Bury St Edmunds 7. It was looking ominous for the visitors however they rallied and began to take the game back to Henley.
Bury earned a penalty on the Henley 5m line after full back O Neill had failed to release and the referee again waved his yellow card. The Bury scrum was strong but at the crucial moment the ball was knocked on and the chance missed. The visitors continued to plug away and began to play some expansive rugby and after 73 minutes wing Mike Stanway raced down the right wing, chipped over the defence and scooped the ball up to score in the corner, Aaron Forest’s conversion attempt just missing.
Bury attacked valiantly during the last few minutes of the game but were kept out by good Henley defence, the final whistle blowing with the score at Henley 33 Bury St Edmunds 12.
Having started the day in sixth position, with no points gained at Henley and other results not going their way, Bury finished the season in a creditable 8th position in National League 2 South. A mixed season but one on which to build for next year with several players renewing their contracts and some exciting new signings. The future is bright, the future is Bury!