Heartbreak for Bury in defeat to leaders Taunton
- Credit: Archant
National League Two South Bury 20 Taunton 26 Classy Taunton underlined their promotion credentials to claw back a 14-point half-time deficit and grab the win in a dramatic game at the Haberden, writes Simon Lord.
A fired up home side had tormented the visitors into conceding two first half tries but the Titans did not panic and in the end did just enough to earn the victory.
Even then it took the intervention of a touch judge to decide that replacement wing Conan Osborne had put a foot in touch when grounding the ball, which might have given Bury the chance to steal the match at the death.
A pulsating game sprung into life after just 90 seconds, Chris Lord slicing in off his wing to take Honey’s reverse pass and race 40 metres for the score.
Then a strong Bury scrum earned them a penalty and although they lost the line out, Will Scholes retrieved the ball and stormed into the visitors 22 before slipping the ball to Sean Stapleton, who burst through a hole in a stretched Taunton defence.
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Despite the set backs, Taunton showed glimpses of why they are top of the league. The pace and quality at which they played stretched Bury and for long periods they were forced to defend valiantly.
However, Bury were tenacious in their defence and often hounded the Titans into mistakes. One such error by Kingdom allowed Fraser Honey to land a straight forward drop goal after his forwards had earned him a penalty advantage.
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The measure of how hard Bury had stretched the visitors was reflected in the closing seconds of the half when after earlier declining kickable penalties, Kingdom got his side on the scoreboard to make it 17–3 at the break.
Two Taunton penalties and a converted Prior try in the first ten minutes of the half turned the game on its head. Bury tried to regroup but when Dan Frost waltzed over, the writing looked on the wall for Bury.
Roared on by the 500-plus crowd, Bury refused to die. Honey narrowed the scores to 23 – 20 with a penalty from in front and for the last 15 minutes it was anybody’s game.
When it mattered most, Taunton did the basics well and Kingdom kicked another penalty.
Then came the dramatic final play of the match, a great drive from a line out set up the chance for Osborne to dive for the line, only to be denied by the touch judge.