Brave Bury push champions Cinderford all the way in a thriller
- Credit: Archant
National League Two South Bury St Edmunds 19 Cinderford 24 Cinderford clinched the title, but for an hour it looked an unlikely victory as the hosts led 19–5, writes Simon Lord.
Both sides showed commendable enterprise, perhaps surprisingly from the visitors as many expected it to be a battle of the Bury three-quarters versus the power of the Forrester’s scrum.
Winchle caused Bury problems in the midfield whilst Fraser Honey kicked tactically to keep turning the bigger side around.
An intense first half finished 5-5 as Taylor’s 20th minute score, virtue of close range driving maul, was cancelled out by Mark Kohler’s fine effort after Bury had camped in the visiting 22 until the space appeared.
Many in the 600 plus crowd were hoping Bury could live with their loftier opponents in the second half, and after 53 minutes, Will Scholes accepted an inside pass to race in almost unchallenged from 30 metres.
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Honey converted and before the crowd had time to settle, Liam McBride was touching down in the corner after Tristan King and Kohler had carried the ball well to send the skipper bursting through the tiniest of gaps.
When Honey landed the kick from the touchline the noise was deafening and the scoreboard showed 19 – 5.
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A raucous Haberden crowd was revelling in the champions elect losing by two scores, but the sign of a good team is that they don’t panic.
Cinderford kept control of the ball, attacked at pace when they needed and slowly but surely ground down a tiring Bury defence. Evans rumbled over from close range after a period of forward pressure. Crucially in the build-up to the try Kohler was yellow carded for a tip tackle and the 14 men were made to pay.
A penalty was kicked to the corner and although Bury stopped the initials drives, an outnumbered defence could not prevent substitute Barbarinsa winning the race to Moffatt’s clever kick through.
Moffat’s extras levelled the scores on 68 minutes, setting up a grandstand finish.
When it mattered most it was Cinderford who kept their head. Bury blew two promising attacking opportunities before Cinderford’s controlled attack earned them territory and then, with a penalty advantage, Moffat’s long pass picked out Lane all alone on the right wing to grab the championship winning try.
The home crowd could not have asked for any more from a brilliant and brave Bury showing.