Bury St Edmunds move step closer to National 3 title with East Grinstead win
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Leaders Bury St Edmunds produced arguably their finest display of the season, winning on the road at East Grinstead in a pressure cooker atmosphere.
Against a side that had won 10 of their 11 home encounters this season, before Saturday, Bury played with the maturity and composure of a team deservedly top of the table and fought back from a losing position.
The hosts had an early chance to open the scoring but Liam Prescott’s penalty attempt was dragged wide.
Then, a customary Tim Mann burst up the middle created some space for James Solomon and he evaded three tacklers as he hugged the touchline.
When the ball came back, it appeared Bury had an overlap, however Tom Bird elected to kick cross field for skipper Chris Snelling, who just knocked the ball on.
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The five-metre scrum was disrupted by Bury, earning themselves a scrum. Once again, a wilting Grinstead scrum was penalised and, rather than opt for another scrum, the penalty was quickly taken for Loma Kivalu to power over for Bury. Bird could not land the kick.
Leading 5-0, Bury struggled with the re-start and a series of hurried passes and a ruck offence, saw Grinstead earn a line out 10 metres from the Bury line.
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The catch and drive was well-organised and as Bury’s resistance fractured, skipper Mike Denbee forced his way over for the equaliser. Prescott converted.
The final 15 minutes saw Grinstead’s Dylan Barkas make a fine solo break whilst Bury’s Matt Edison was brought back after a forward pass.
Meanwhile, at the scrum, Bury were now in complete control, taking the ball against the head and, earning another penalty, they ought to have scored again.
The long kick-off from the re-start was fumbled into touch, giving Bury an attacking line out.
A midfield penalty ensued and Bird comfortably slotted the kick to put Bury ahead again.
Bury swiftly countered and Bourke was quick to spot a visiting player being obstructed off the ball, giving Bird the chance to aim at goal again. Despite the swirling wind the conversion was good and Bury now led 11-7.
Bury went further ahead when Jesse Rush sent his three quarters away and Mann’s charging break was halted illegally. Bird landed his third penalty of the half.
As the mid-point of the half approached, Mann’s cleverly-weighted pass sent Edison, up in support, racing away into space. Matt Betty managed to drag him down but Ollie Watson took the ball on and despite being tackled, got the ball down for a try.
Initially the score was given but then after consulting with his touch judge, referee Bourke deemed it had been a double movement.
A try at that point would have been a match winner as a 14-point lead would have surely clinched the points.
Bury did not let the disappointment get to them and they earned another penalty from a retreating Grinstead scrum and Bird made it four from four in the half and 17-7.
The final ten minutes saw Grinstead throw the kitchen sink at Bury, but the visitors held on.