Bury St Edmunds relying on home comforts

Will Affleck, who will play at full-back for Bury St Edmunds against Canterbury at The Haberden toda

Will Affleck, who will play at full-back for Bury St Edmunds against Canterbury at The Haberden today.

‘Home, sweet home,’ has certainly applied to Bury St Edmunds this season.

While the Wolfpack have continued to struggle on the road, for most of this campaign, it is their excellent home form that has kept them in the top half of the National League Two South table.

Thankfully, after slithering to a seventh away defeat on the bounce last Saturday, when they ended their 24-18 loss at Worthing Raiders with just 13 men on the park, due to two late yellow cards for Sam Bixby and Mark Kohler, they return to The Haberden today for a clash with Canterbury (3pm kick-off).

Ironically, Canterbury away was the last time that Bury tasted victory on the road, and that was thanks to a superb second-half display in Kent from late October.

Trailing 21-5 at half-time, Ollie Smith’s men then came roaring back with four unanswered tries in the second period to win 29-21.

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Since then, Bury have lost away at Henley Hawks, Redingensians Rams, Cinderford, Old Redcliffians, Wimbledon, Taunton and Worthing.

But is has been a very different story at home, which is why Bury remain well-placed in seventh spot, three places higher than Canterbury, even though the two teams have both won 11 and lost 11 of their 22 fixtures to date. Bury are four points better off.

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Smith has targeted a best-ever finish for Bury, in which is their third season at this lofty level, but to do that they have to beat their sixth spot from the 2015-16 campaign. They are currently 10 points adrift of the top five, with eight games left.

On home soil, albeit for a defeat to promotion contenders Chinnor, Bury have won six of their last seven matches. They have beaten Redruth, Barnstaple, Broadstreet, London Irish Wild Geese, Clifton and Worthing at The Haberden.

BURY: Smith, Bixby, Coutts, Scholes, Edison, Uru, Stapleton (Capt), Browne. Ashby, Honey, Corcoran, Rouse, O’Reilly, Kohler, Affleck. Replacements: Greco, King, Mitchell, Merolle, Snelling.

Meanwhile, six members of the Bury St Edmunds squad have been called up to train with the Eastern Counties in preparation for the Bill Beaumont County Championship.

Forwards Sam Bixby, Will Scholes and Sean Stapleton, plus three-quarters Jake Ashby, Mark Kohler and Chris Lord, have all been selected for the Eastern Counties squad to train Cambridge.

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