National Division 2
Barnes 10 Bury St Edmunds 12
A 77th minute try for Barnes right wing Marty threatened to steal the match from Bury, but the boys in Gold and Green had done enough to claim the spoils.
Bury, as they had done a fortnight ago in Clifton had failed to make their dominance truly count despite dominating large swathes of territory and possession and it almost cost them.
Barnes is unlike any other club in National 2 and offers unique challenges both logistically and physically and one needs to embrace and accept that or you can come quickly unstuck.
In the opening moments it appeared Bury’s young side had not quite come to terms with the challenge as Barnes cut the visitors defence to ribbons! No 8 Hind’s fine break appeared to have put Van Buren in for a score after just 90 seconds but a foot in touch denied the speedster.
However, Barnes were not going let Bury off the hook and an over thrown line out was punished with some quick recycling and a fine overhead pass to put Hind’s in by the corner flag.
Conceding in less than 2 minutes could have thrown the side, but Bury regrouped from the kick off, re gathered the ball and went on a series of drives. Cooper, Grey and Walshe took Bury up to the try line before Cooper with assistance from his forward pack, drove over by the posts. Dusi’s simple conversion put Bury 7 – 5 up after just 7 minutes.
If the small but enthusiastic crowd expected the scoring to continue in similar vein they were to be disappointed!
In contrast to Barnes off the cuff, expansive and pacy attacks, Bury looked to bludgeon their way through the middle of the home defence.
Dusi had the opportunity to add to Bury’s lead but badly pulled his penalty attempt wide. The power of the Bury scrum was causing all sorts of problems and with Watson and Walshe carrying the ball well, Bury spent the majority of the half in the Barnes 22.
However despite getting in great field position, Bury could not make it count. Twice Bury were penalised at the ruck when they were going forward, Hooker Dan Walshe was held up when over the try line and then when it seemed a penalty try was in the offing, Bury chose to tap and go and wasted the opportunity. Despite soaking up lots of pressure, Barnes always looked dangerous on the counter and it took good work from Watson and Lightfoot to send Bury into the break two points to the good.
HALF TIME BANRES 5 BURY 7
The first half hadn’t been much of a spectacle and unfortunately the match didn’t get a lot better in the second half!
Bury’s dominance in the scrum and close quarter drives were negated by an increasingly dominant Barnes line out and pace in the centres. Former Championship player Basil Strang was really pulling the strings for Barnes but the Bury scramble defence held just, but only just!
The intensity of the Bury defence, led by skipper Ollie Watson, was forcing Barnes into mistakes and Bury looked to their strong set piece to get them out of trouble, A series of scrum penalties finally ended with the Barnes loose head prop being shown Yellow.
With a numerical advantage Bury ought to have been able to take advantage but they continued to I labour in attack against a well organised Barnes defence. It took until over the hour mark before Bury finally added to their lead! A penalty on half way was kicked superbly to 12m. The resulting line out was again overthrown but Tom Milosovic tidied up well, Toby White then crashed the ball up at pace before the ball came back against the flow for Lord to create the space for Ollie Watson to dive over by the corner flag.
Sadly the game continued in its turgid state. Bury continued to try and truck the ball up the middle using the power of their forwards, whilst Barnes when given the ball began to look increasingly threatening.
In previous seasons the game could well have slipped from Bury, but this time they remained calm in defence, aided and abetted by some wayward Hammet kicking.
From one such long downfield kick, Bury ought to have made the game safe. Affleck as he had done all day, fielded the kick well and created a small gap for Chris Lord to run into. With most people expecting him to kick downfield, he escaped the clutches of his opposite number and suddenly Bury were racing through with an overlap. Sadly Alfie Garside, the hero of last week, fumbled the pass and the chance went begging.
It hadn’t been pretty but Bury had done enough or so one thought! With only 7 points between the sides, Barnes refused to accept defeat and on 77 minutes Hammet’s clever cross field kick picked out Marty to dive over. Hammet could not quite convert from the touchline and Bury comfortably dealt with the restart, ran the clock down and gleefully kicked from the field to earn a valuable 4 points.
Better to win ugly than lose playing pretty seemed to be the mantra adopted by all of the Suffolk contingent.