Battling Bury push the champions-elect all the way at the Haberden
PUBLISHED: 19:38 20 January 2019
Bury St Edmunds 3 Rams 19
The Rams promotion juggernaut powered on but they were forced to work overtime to claim the points at an arctic Greene King Haberden.
Bury put in a tenacious performance, leaving little on the park, but in the end it was not enough to defeat a confident Reading side. The hosts got in the faces of the runaway league leaders and trailed by just 5 points to 3 at the break.
Bury thought they had opened the scoring after just 4 minutes when Bodkin touched down but the score was chalked out for a forward pass. The Rams then got into their stride earning a couple of scrum penalties to gain territory before scrum half Illingworth forced his way over.
The try was courtesy of some deft off loads and support runners that ultimately proved too much for a valiant Bury defence. If the visitors thought they would kick on, Bury had other ideas. They defended for their lives and twice went close courtesy of Affleck’s counter attacks. However as good as they were in attack, the Rams were even better in defence! Bury didn’t let their heads drop and the persistence was finally rewarded on 36 minutes when Johnson landed a fine penalty.
HALF TIME BURY 3 RAMS 5
The second half belonged to the Rams but as much for their defensive display as their attacks. Bury had several good scoring opportunities but the way the Rams committed to the break down to slow the ball down or more often than not steal the ball, proved pivotal.
Bury’s tenacity had subdued the visitors and although they were often on the back foot, there was a chance that an upset was on the cards.
It was nearly the hour mark before the Rams fearsome forwards drove a line out fully 30m creating the space for Tom Humberstone to get in behind the Bury defence. Bury thought they had escaped when stealing the ball on their own line but then the Rams pinched the ball back and Humberstone ghosted over. He converted his own try to give them some breathing space.
The score galvanised the Rams, going back to strength, up front and Humberstone kicking deep to pin Bury back. Bury tried and tried to counter but the attacks became increasingly frantic as they floundered against a superb Rams defence.
Yet another turn over sent Henderson away and his deft off load to Corrigan in from his opposite wing created the space for Rossiter to race away and seal the victory.
Bury pushed till the end but has they had found all day, could not break down a stubborn wall of Red Shirts. The Wolfpack could take some consolation in becoming only the second side to deny the champions elect a winning bonus point.