Bury St Edmunds lose out to Southend in National 2

Bury v Southend - rugby action.

Bury v Southend - rugby action. - Credit: Archant

A streetwise Southend mastered the blustery conditions best to secure a valuable win at Bury.

The visitors played with composure and leadership sadly lacking in the home side to first build up and then retain a lead.

After last week’s disappointing loss at Reading, coach Gavin Hogg shuffled the side in an effort to rejuvenate things. Le Roy, Gleeson and Walker came back into the fold whilst Chris Lord and Ben Enoka also started.

A try a piece in the opening four minutes promised much but the game settled down more into war of midfield attrition.

Centre Chris Vaughan opened the scoring for Southend after two minutes, strolling through a gaping chasm in the Bury midfield after a regulation backs move from a lineout 15 metres from the Bury line.

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Burr added the extras but directly from the restart Bury reduced the deficit, a fumble at the kick off allowed Lyle to nudge the ball through and Will Affleck gathered to scamper over in the corner.

With the elements at their back, Southend intelligently pressed Bury back and Fombo was the grateful recipient of a wayward line out throw, intercepting eight metres out and with no one in front of him, gleefully diving over at the mid point of the half.

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Burr once again converted well.

Bury then played their smartest rugby of the match, controlling the ball well and deservedly stayed in touch thanks to two penalties from the boot of ex-Bedford Academy product, Scott Lyle.

Playing into the wind it had been a good half for Bury, despite conceding a penalty on the stroke of half-time, again well struck by Brad Burr.

The score at the break saw Southend 17-11 up.

Turning round with the strong elements in their favour, Bury must have had high hopes of overcoming the deficit.

But that gap became larger when within 13 minutes of the half kicking off, Burr had kicked two more Southend penalties to stretch the lead to 23-11.

No complaints against Referee Caviglia, Bury were architects of their own downfall.

There was time and Bury did have hope especially when first Barker and then later Ashton saw yellow but whereas Southend remained calm and structured in attack, Bury looked frantic and hurried.

Decision making at both penalties and with ball in hand looked haphazard and cried out for a steadying hand a la Chesney and Burr for the visitors.

Surely with a strong wind at their backs they would play the territory game, create pressure and force the scores?

It was not to be. Chances went begging, options to kick were run and vice versa, heart-breaking to watch and so frustrating for players and coaches alike.

Bury did get a glimmer of hope as Goatley’s fine break, carried on well by Gibson, did allow Matt Edison the space to spin out of a tackle and squeeze over on 71 minutes, but it was not enough.

Lyle tried to push Bury into the corners but Southend as they had done for most of the match, tackled well, negated Bury’s attacking intent and closed the game out for a narrow win.

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