Bury St Edmunds claim the spoils with 43-38 derby success over league-leaders Cambridge
- Credit: Archant
There have been some memorable days at the Greene King Haberden in recent years but Saturday’s events will live long in the memory for those that were present.
Bury toppled the league leaders in a derby match for the ages, packed with 11 tries and superb action.
The home side struck first as Will Affleck sprinted into the corner. Chris Lord landed a fine touchline conversion and Bury were seven points to the good.
Cambridge’s response was swift and lethal. Turning the ball over just inside their own half, they recycled the ball well, staying patient until the gap appeared for Boshoff to race through and although he was dragged down, players were queuing up on his right and hooker Ean Griffiths flopped over.
Having drawn level, Cambridge went straight back on the attack. Fantastic footwork by Portsmouth cut Bury to ribbons and this time when Cambridge again declined to kick at goal, they scored from the resulting penalty. Full-back James Stokes proved too elusive and he weaved his way under the sticks.
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Trailing 14–7, Bury pressed Cambridge back, leading to Tim Mann bursting his way out of three prospective tackles to score in the corner. Lord could not quite convert this time, so it was 14-12.
The remainder of the half probably belonged to Cambridge as they scored two more tries to have the bonus point in the bag before the break. First Ayrton spotted a gap in the defence around a ruck, to simply pick the ball up and run unchallenged to the posts and then former Bury player, George Bretag–Norris was credited with a penalty try when he had the ball knocked out of his hand as he was about to dive over.
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Lord replied with a penalty and it was 28-15 Cambridge at the break.
Bury burst out of the blocks in the second half, Enoka’s charge to the line coming so quickly, that many people missed it as they were returning to their places on the sidelines. Lord’s conversion drew Bury to within six points at 28-22.
Cambridge responded as fly-half Boshoff’s expertly timed pass saw Albert Portsmouth burst onto the ball on a superb angle to score.
Bury, inspired by the raucous home support, pushed forward and began to dominate the exchanges.
A superb Bury scrum caused panic between Liebenberg and Hipwell behind their own line, scrum half Peres pouncing on the ball to make it 35-29.
This astonishing game refused to slow down or drop in intensity. Both sides punched and counter punched, but Cambridge’s discipline was beginning to cost them.
Bury used the indiscretions to earn field position and then turned the screw by keeping the ball close and powering towards the line.
Peres spotted a gap to nip through and send the crowd into raptures by making it 36-35 to Bury.
A fired up home defence turned the ball over and sent Lord sprinting away. The full back deftly kicked the ball across for Sam Sterling to win the race and dive on the ball over the try line. Scott Lyle punched the air with delight when he landed a superb touchline conversion, making it 43-35.
Cambridge did mount one last hurrah, but Bury were not going to surrender this fabulous victory.
Instead skipper Liebenberg instructed Boshoff to kick a penalty with the last play of the match to earn Cambridge a losing bonus point as Bury celebrated a famous win.