Bury fight back but have a bit too much to do as they fall 31-28 to Redingensians
A last minute penalty try salvaged two losing bonus points for Bury, which on reflection was a decent return on a game where the visitors ruled the roost.
The spring sunshine brought a healthy 600-plus crowd to The Haberden but sadly the Bury players could not hit the heights of previous weeks to entertain them.
The Rams were outstanding in defence, their back row of Kharbouch, Vooght and Stapley in particular, dominated at the break downs, cutting down many a Bury attack and invariably winning a penalty to boot as they isolated a Bury player.
Both sides had signalled intent to throw the ball around from the off, but it was the Rams who opened the scoring as No8 Robbie Stapley – who had a fine game – sprinted clear from a ruck, interchanged passes with Bryant before passing inside for the supporting Drury to score.
Chandler added the extras and it was 7-0.
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Seven became 14 moments later as right wing Corrigan touched down.
Try as they might Bury could not penetrate a stubborn defence and inevitably frustration crept in, allowing Chandler to slot an easy penalty to extend the away lead to 17–0.
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Bury did manage to get on the scoreboard, scoring crucially just before the break. A solid scrum, one of few Bury positives on the day, provided the platform to send Mark Kidson away down the blind side.
The ball was recycled three times before being spread back right and centre Sam Sterling powered his way over from 15 metres to make it 17-7 at the break.
Bury then made a hash of a couple of good scoring opportunities and were made to pay when man of the match Stapley broke away from an innocuous Rams maul to skip unhindered to the line.
Chandler once again converted well and the score now looked ominous at 24 -7 to the visitors.
A rare passage of play where Bury stayed patient, worked the phases, and supported the ball carrier, culminated in Kidson cutting a good angle to score adjacent to the posts to narrow the deficit. However just when Bury sniffed a chance of getting back in to the game, the door was closed again!
Bury seemed to be lacking a cutting edge or imagination in attack and the visitors superb defence was able to absorb before breaking free and then attacking with pace and gusto sadly lacking from the home side.
Once again, a Bury attack was halted, the ball sent down the blind side and quick hands and dancing feet freed up flanker Tom Vooght to score a crucial try.
Bury went on the attack from the restart finally showing some real drive and determination.
A series of drives took Sam Bixby up to the try line but he was stopped just short.
Referee Alex Thomas awarded Bury an attacking scrum and from such an inviting platform, Will Affleck ghosted over to get Bury back in touch. Lyle’s extras made it 31-21 with 10 minutes to go.
Bury pushed and pushed for a score that would set up a grandstand finish but the Rams defended heroically.
Long gone was the cutting down in midfield and swiftly counter attacking, this was backs-to-the wall, defending your try line for your lives stuff. And the Rams defence held true until the final 90 seconds of the game.
Outstanding defence had stopped a Bury attack and earned a five-metre scrum.
However the Bury scrum, which had been on top all game, smashed their opponents off the ball, earning a penalty try as they marched towards the line. Scott Lyle could not miss and from looking like ending the game pointless, Bury had managed to salvage two vital points.
The Rams proved worthy winners. Yes, Bury were missing some key individuals, who hopefully will be back in the fold shortly, but they were exposed by a settled, well-organised and crucially more committed side that wanted the win more.