Bury end the Gavin Hogg era with a win at Clifton
National League Two South Clifton 30 Bury St Edmunds 33 Bury signed off for the 2017 season with an exhilarating win away in Bristol.
The Wolfpack did just enough to edge a nine-try thriller and send departing players and notably Gavin Hogg, on their travels with a smile on their faces.
Clifton, with one eye on a forthcoming cup final and Bury looking to give some younger players a chance to shine, entered into the spirit of the day, throwing the ball about from the minute go and in fact scoring after just two minutes.
Within four minutes Bury had drawn level as Dave Micklethwaite crashed over – unfortunately that was the last act for the flanker as he suffered a bang to the head in grounding the ball.
Ross Bailey–Kearney then sliced through a gaping hole in the midfield to dot down under the sticks.
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Clifton had the benefit of a strong breeze at their backs and they went on to have the better of the first half. A penalty reduced the score to 12–8 and then directly from the re-start Clifton took the lead through a try and another penalty to make it 18-12 at the half.
Bury struck first in the second stanza after 10 minutes as Palmer bundled from two metres. Scott Lyle’s superb touchline conversion put Bury back in front at 19-18.
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That was widened as Harry Anderson-Browne scored a cracking try, converted by Lyle before he hobbled off, and Bury led 26-18.
Just over an hour on the clock and Clifton unloaded their bench to bring on some serious heavy artillery in the forwards.
The young Bury pack creaked and they conceded a series of penalties and scrums in their own 22. Just when it seemed Bury’s magnificent defence had held Clifton at bay, a lineout 10 metres out was stolen and the Clifton second row managed to force his way over.
With the conversion successful, it was back to a one point game and ten minutes remaining.
But Bury won the restart and embarked on a flowing attack, culminating as Darren Gillespie spotted a gaping hole at the ruck, hopped over the tacklers and raced away 40 metres for a decisive score.
Clifton got a late consolation, but Bury held on to end the Hogg era, and the season, with a win.