Bury Rugby Club go top of National League 3 with win at Westcombe Park

Bury's Loma Kivalu charges through at Westcombe Park

Bury's Loma Kivalu charges through at Westcombe Park - Credit: Archant

National League 3 London & SE Westcombe Park 13 Bury St Edmunds 20 Bury produced a commanding display at previous league leaders Westcombe Park to move top of National League 3.

The big game pressure seemed to have got to both sides in the opening minutes of the match as both looked nervy and overly-keen to impress.

Bury were keen to assert authority up front but an early drive at a scrum resulted in a penalty. Wilkes took the penalty quickly and after a couple of quick rucks, Gordon was back in the pocket to slot a straight forward drop goal to make it 3-0 to the home side.

The visitors did not help themselves with some poor kicks but the tenacity of their defence shone through and allowed them to launch some positive counter attacks.

One such counter took Bury deep into Park’s 22 and a midfield offside was duly punished by Sage with a simple penalty. 15 minutes in, and it was three points apiece.

That was how it would stay until half-time, with perhaps the defining period of the match coming in the final minutes of the half.

Park laid siege to the Bury line but try as they might, they could not break down a committed and disciplined Bury defence.

Most Read

Bury then shifted up a gear in the second half to take the game away from the home side.

First Gordon landed a penalty to make it 6-3 to the home side, but five minutes later Bury went over for the game’s first try. A great series of drives by the forwards – Beau Gibson in particular to the fore – created the space for the Bury three quarters.

The ball went wide and Tristan Rawcliffe, who had just entered the fray, joined the line at pace, offered a classic dummy and ghosted in on the left.

Brad Cook, who had taken over kicking duties from Sage, missed but Bury led 8-6.

Bury were now beginning to assert their authority as the hour mark approached. Skipper Chris Snelling led by example with an outstanding catch of a high ball, before setting off on a mazy run.

James Solomon made ground before the pack drove the ball on and youngster Connor Adams barged over from close range for his first try for the club. Rawcliffe converted and Bury were 15-6 up.

The Bury forwards worked tirelessly to keep the home side at bay. Loma Kivalu, Sam Bixby, and Matt Edison’s work rate was outstanding, while Gibson was a constant whirr of energy both in attack and defence, earning him man of the match honours.

With just over six minutes to go, Bury made the game safe.

Tanimo Samoa and Kivalu made initial thrusts before Greg White ghosted through a tiny gap to get behind the defence.

The ball was quickly sent wide and Snelling deservedly slid over in the right hand corner to make it 20-6.

But a tiring Bury team conceded a couple of penalties allowing Combe to kick deep into the Bury 22 and force referee Sam Brown into showing Bixby the yellow card.

The extra man paid dividends as Combe rumbled over the line, prop Matt Poole credited with the score.

Gordon’s fine conversion brought the scores within seven, thus earning Combe a losing point.

But that was as close as they would get, Bury sealing a remarkable seventh straight victory to go top of the league.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter