A team littered with new young stars in the making, rubbing shoulders with the stars of previous generations, Bury fielded a team for the future. And no doubt we will enjoy their contributions in the coming seasons. The build-up to the final was hampered by Ely 2nds no-show on Easter Saturday, but inevitably names in the hat and team selected it was game-on!
Shelford looked like a team that trained to win and lead by their stalwarts at Tight-head and Fly-half they gave the aura of team in winning form, having beaten the Wolves a few weeks before their confidence was high. Playing against a very strong wind it took 4 minutes to shatter that illusion, with the forwards playing like demons and George & Stuart running the show behind ably helped by Jonno & Joe the first chance they got took on and beat Shelford's back line whipping the ball out to the left from halfway for Ben Hunt to show incredible speed out running all to score close to the posts, Stu converted for what would be valuable extra points, 7-0. (5 mins) Shelford at this point were shell-shocked & miffed, but still believing they could comeback, but not happy. This changed 4 mins later with another bash up the middle by our now dominant forwards, Will,Joe, Josh & Gideon with again great distribution from George and Stu, the ball again found it's way into Ben's hands and off he went to score out wide, no conv, 12-0. (9 mins) Shelford took this a little harder, so not happy, swearing a little louder, getting grumpy. The restarts seemed to confuse the Wolves as they looked at the ball almost wonderously before scrambling to keep it. However Shelford were a little more determined now and and there seemed to be a glut of scrums of which the Wolves were showing a few signs of cracking. However in the loose they contained and made ground, but fell into playing Shelford's game and with it a little control, this though didn't stop them seeing an opportunity and again took on and beat the Shelford three-quarter line with simple rugby putting Connor in under the posts for a converted try, 19-0. (29 mins) Now Shelford were definitely grumpy about this, swearing was at level 10. At this point the Wolves were in complete control, from the re-start they set the platform to attack, pushing up the middle, then out through the backs, with Henry working tirelessly making ground every time, then with the forwards Mike, Sam & Elliot having their best game when it mattered, this pressure saw the Wolves just inside Shelford's 22 and spreading wide at a ruck looked to have options covered, that is until George got his hands on it, dummied the diving prop and flew to the line, scoring under the posts, conv Stu, 26-0. (34 mins) Shelford were incandescent, swearing reaching to Stansted airport even though the wind was blowing the wrong way! Unfortunately if you poke a wasps nest eventually you get stung, Shelford attacked the re-start and because of the wind the Wolves defensive kicks went backwards leaving Shelford in a commanding position, and their determination saw them cross the line out wide, with a tricky conversion making it 26-7 (37 mins) with 3 mins to go. Shelford still miffed, swearing still too loud for the mixed audience, and it was of course teh Wolves turn to be just a little grumpy. Bury's re-start suffered a similar lapse part due to the wind and now with tails up Shelford's unrelenting pressure, having regained the ball, they pushed hard and on the dot of half-time were rewarded with an unconverted try. 26-12 (40 mins) Shelford now a lot less grumpy, and definitely thinking they could win, however teh second half would be hard against a very strong wind, and their fly-half's favourite trick of the little chip again not in evidence.
Don't forget the extra points, it becomes very important!
Half-time: Bury Wolves 26-12 Shelford
The second half started with Shelford still on the front foot, claiming the ball and piling on the pressure, Bury's replacements Brad & Alan (only 60!) ably taking up the fight. Their man of the match No.7 Tom Franklin chasing everything and making telling tackles put the Wolves on the back foot again, and after a long time defending Shelford went over for a converted try. 26-19. (50 mins) Shelford now much happier and with that thinking they could win......... but, the Wolves were not ready to capitulate and they went on the offensive from the restart, pushing, driving, kicking for the corner, and scrummaging for all they were worth Brad having the measure of the Shelford tight-head at every scrum who just couldn't take the pressure and popped out everytime, giving our backs the platform needed to go forward, and a cross-field kick collected by Connor on the left wing and avoiding flaying arms ran in to score out wide 2 mins later, conv missed, 31-19, (52 mins) looking good, Shelford getting grumpy again. They came back, hard, and No.7 working hard to disrupt looked to be making a difference, that is until a clever up & under for the first time this season bounced our way and Connor skipped in to collect and run behind the posts, Stu conv, 38-19. (So excited lost all awareness of time) Now so grumpy they were getting auditions for Snow White, Shelford rallied, and came back throwing everything at the Wolves, and to their credit notched another converted try, 38-26. Still really miffed and all that goes with it, Shelford let the Wolves back into their half once again and just outside their 22 came soft penalty, a 3 point cushion on the horizon, Captain Sam pointed to the posts and Stuart obliged with the only (and most important) penalty of the game, 41-26. Until now Shelford were grumpy and now like a wounded animal came back and threw everything they had at the Wolves, even changing their tight-head, but this made no difference in scrum, still they went backwards, dissolving as they went, and still they came back, eventually breaking down the Wolves staunch defense for another converted try, 41-33. Still grumpy, but much less so and thinking the next score would winning the game Shelford through everything at the Wolves and with Ryu coming off the bench in the last 8 mins they looked dangerous every time they had ball in hand, sadly for them they lost their influential fly-half at this point and with the time running out and everyone manning the ramparts the Wolves held out to the final whistle for a tremendous and very well deserved win. Special mention to Oli (ver) Blake who was on standby, despite already playing in the Rovers bruising encounter.
Full time: 41-33
Thank you to the Referee Joe Mc Williams and his to able Touch judges for an excellently adjudicated game best set of officials all season!
1. Stephen Bell 2. joe Milner 3. Elliot Blenkhorn 4. Michael Jenkins 5. Samuel Dean 6. Josh Dring 7. Gideon 8. Will Whittaker 9. George Ash 10. Stuart Turner 11. Henry Lord 12. Jonathan Stanhope-Smith 13. Joe May 14. Connor Roberts 15. Ben Hunt 16. Alan Davis 17. Ryuichi kawaguchi 18. Brad Sedgwick 19. Oliver Blake