Bury Rugby Club lose at Chichester to dent promotion hopes
- Credit: Archant
National League 3 London & SE Chichester 23 Bury St Edmunds 20 Bury returned empty handed from a 320 mile round trip as last gasp penalty by Dan Gray grabbed the points for Chichester, and put a severe dent in the Suffolk side’s promotion push.
After a promising first half where Bury ran in three tries to lead 17–8 at the interval, a poor second half performance saw Bury only manage to claim a losing bonus point for their travels.
The early stages saw Bury on the front foot and after six minutes they took the lead. A driving maul earned Bury a penalty which they kicked to the Chichester 22.
The ball went off the top of the lineout and was transferred down the line for Tim Mann to brush aside two ineffective tackles for a try by the side of the posts. Henley–Hunter missed the kick, but it was 5–0 to Bury.
Gray slotted a penalty for the home side to make it 5-3, before the home side took the lead through a try from prop Tom Belcher after Bury’s Sam Bixby was shown a yellow card for illegally stopping a maul.
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But despite being down to 14 men, Bury scored two tries in the closing five minutes of the half. Matt Edison and then Tristan Rawcliffe made good ground down the middle of the park, earning Bury a penalty.
The ball was kicked to the corner but instead of going for the forward drive they spun the ball wide for Mann on a great angle to prove unstoppable again. This time Henley-Hunter was successful and it now stood at 12–8 to Bury.
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Chichester were made to pay again on the stroke of half-time when a clearance kick didn’t find touch but instead Rawcliffe.
Two quick passes sent Mann away again and this time he drew two would-be tacklers before off-loading to James Solomon to outsprint his opposite number for a cracking score in the corner.
The conversion was missed, but the score was 17-8 Bury at the half.
The kick-off for the start of the second half was knocked on by Bury – an Omen of things to come!
Chichester were clearly fired up and a strike against the head saw influential No 8 Jack Bentall rumble his way over from 10 metres. Gray converted and it was 17-15, and game on.
The nature of the game had changed though. Chichester had clearly changed their game plan and gone down the keep it and run which was paying dividends as the strangely subdued Bury forwards failed to respond.
The Bury scrummage was dismantled on several occasions and Chichester camped on the Bury try-line.
Wave after wave of Blue striped attacks were repelled by valiant defence for almost 10 minutes until finally Belcher again could not be stopped from three metres as the Chichester forwards powered him over in the corner.
Gray could not convert and it now stood at 20 points all with 10 minutes to go.
Chichester smelt blood and a final surge at the Bury line earned them the match-winning penalty.
Bury’s scramble defence had been decent but when it came under pressure one final time, a silly penalty was conceded as the ball was deliberately knocked out of scrum-half Durkin’s hand.
Gray could not miss and Chichester, by virtue of a dominant second half, had done enough to deserve victory.