Bury Saints start their season with superb win over Sussex Thunder
- Credit: Archant
The Bury Saints started the new season in the same fashion as the last as they steamrollered the Sussex Thunder 34-0.
The Saints enjoyed a perfect 2015 campaign, culminating in a Rose Bowl win and promotion to National League Division One.
And they continued that win streak with a resounding dismantling of their 2015 semi-final opponents the Thunder.
After holding the high powered Sussex offence scoreless on their opening drive the Saints’ offence took only three plays to drive 84 yards and score on Cory Jenkins’ 54 yard TD scamper.
The point after was perfect by Rob Giles.
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The next few drives by both teams failed to secure points, however late in the first quarter a Fred Boyle run from the goal-line pushed the scoreline to 13-0.
Pauly Bowers nailed the PAT to make it 14-0.
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A few more field position swaps later and the Bury offence once again made a drive, midway through the second quarter, to the Sussex nineyard line where Boyle passed to Don Washington for a touchdown.
Giles once again made the PAT and the score was 21-0 going into half-time.
Coming out of the half-time break the field position battle ensued with Bury and Sussex trading punts.
Bury then drove another 80 yards and capped it off with a 35 yard run by another new running back in Tommy Ellerbe.
This time the PAT was blocked by Sussex so the scoreline stood at 27-0.
The score stayed that way until late in the game when the Saints, in a spirited final drive, managed to get to the Sussex 12 and Boyle connected with Josh Marlow for a touchdown pass.
Bowers made the final PAT, finishing the scoring at 34-0.
The Thunder could not get anything going all day and were held to 108 total yards combined through the air and on the ground, never getting into the Bury red zone.
The defence was responsible for intercepting the Sussex quarterbacks four times with Dmont Herring, Troy Cockerill, and Rob Giles picking off the passes along with Jack Hewett.
Herring also added a fumble recovery after a big gain for Sussex to stop a drive.
Fabian Mitchell and the rest of the defensive line had a standout game, with Mitchell getting a sack to help seal the win.
Interim Head Coach Christian Cantrill tempered his enthusiasm following the game.
He said: “Although we got a massive result against a team we needed three overtimes last year to beat, we have a lot to work on with the Solent Thrashers coming to town in two weeks.
“I can say I am very proud of the way my coordinators Neil Van Holland, Bobby Coffman and Jamie Nuttall prepared and executed a very precise gameplan to achieve the result.
“We have work on our hands with nine more very tough games going forward with the Thrashers at the forefront of our preparations.”
The Saints are back in action on Sunday 24 April at Thetford Rugby Club against last year’s SFC1 finalists the Thrashers. Kick-off is 2pm.