The Wolfpack get the bonus point win with gritty display at Birmingham & Solihull
- Credit: Archant
Birmingham & Solihull 17 Bury St Edmunds 33
Bury produced a stirring display to earn five much needed points, writes Simon Lord.
Having cut the Bees apart in the first half, Bury then put in a determined defensive second half display to keep the home side at bay when reduced to 13 men.
Travelling to the basement dwellers having not won any of their previous five matches, Bury were under pressure to claim a win.
With advantage of a strong wind at their backs, the Wolfpack burst out of the blocks scoring after just two minutes.
Cam Ritchie burst through two tackles in midfield to race clear. Returning skipper Ollie Watson was up in good support as Ritchie fixed the last defender to send his captain in under the posts
Franco Cautogno added the easy extras.
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With both sets of forwards looking evenly matched, it was the Bury threeq-uarters that were making the difference and on 12 minutes Bury scored again with a thrilling try.
Cautogno fielded a long clearance kick and ran the ball back, Ben Leng then burst through the midfield defence before popping the ball off to Connor O’Reilly to make yards. The centre then had the presence of mind to slip the ball back inside to the supporting Tom Brown for a glorious score.
Bury looked so much more aggressive in defence than the hosts and scored their third try.
Debutant scrum-half Anton Limlei’s half break sucked in the final cover defence before the ball was sent right for O’Reilly to stroll over.
19 points to the good, Bury let their intensity drop and it allowed the Bees their best period of the match.
One missed tackle and before Bury knew it, the ball was worked to left wing Matt Dight for a score in the corner.
The try gave the hosts belief and a couple of penalties gave them an attacking line out 10m from the Bury try line. As the Bees drove for the line, it looked like Bury had managed to divert them into touch. Somehow Matt Spink managed to get the ball down inches from the corner flag.
At 19-10 suddenly it looked like game on, however Bury grabbed their fourth and bonus point earning try just before the break.
A speculative kick ahead by Birmingham rebounded off a Bury player in the opposite direction. O’Reilly hacked the ball on and his centre cohort Leng comfortably won the race to touch the ball down.
The second half began with Bury on the front foot, but the hosts clearly stung by their coaches half-time words, looked far more determined in defence.
It took 15 minutes before the deadlock was broken, but when it came it was a glorious try.
Again, it all started with a poor clearance kick, this time fielded by Kohler. He ran the ball back past two defenders before off loading to Pat Robinson. Robinson fed the ball on to Uru who returned the compliment leaving the prop with 30 metres to go and no one in front of him. No one was more surprised than Robinson himself as he raced over for the score.
33 points to 10 looked like game over but the Bees refused to lie down.
They threw everything at Bury and now it was the Wolfpack under pressure and conceding penalties. Having warned the team moments earlier, it was inevitable that Kohler would be shown a yellow card when he was adjudged to have gone off his feet at a ruck.
Bees made the extra man count when they once again managed to force the ball down from a line out close in. The grounding did not look conclusive and Tui Uru’s questioning of the decision saw him shown a straight red.
In a matter of seconds Bury had conceded a try and would have to play for the remaining 20 minutes with 14 players and for the first 10 of those with only 13!
The euphoria and confidence of the large noisy travelling support suddenly had drained to be replaced by nervous shouts of encouragement.
The players however were not in the mood to let their hard work be undone.
Even the loss of skipper Ollie Watson to another injury did not deter them. The forwards showed some real grit and determination to battle against superior numbers whilst out wide the three-quarters stayed organised to shepherd several attacks into touch.