Gallery & report: Bury St Edmunds 36 Tonbridge Juddians 14
- Credit: Archant
An outstanding second half performance secured a deserved win for Bury St Edmunds.
Bury were forced to work extremely hard to overcome a competent Tonbridge side and only some scintillating second half tries secured the points.
Brad Cook for Bury and Miki Zanirato exchanged penalties in the opening six minutes, but for much of the first half it was the visitors who were on top, Luke Giles kicking deep several times to turn the Bury defence round.
On 16 minutes, Tonbridge scored the game’s first try with a slick backs move. Ward came off his right wing to make the extra man and space for his left wing partner Richard Nauer to squeeze over.
Bury responded well with Loma Kivalu and Beau Gibson making some big yards down the middle of the park.
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Cook missed a penalty attempt to reduce arrears but Bury regained the lead on 24 minutes. Kieran Black’s fabulous off-load out the back of his hand sent Tristan Rawcliffe racing away and he then timed his pass inside superbly for the supporting Tim Mann to barrel over, Cook converting.
Giles continued to pin Bury back and one such fine kick signalled a five-minute period where they camped in the Bury 22. Bury could not escape and Zanirato despatched a penalty to give the visitors a one-point lead.
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Two fine kicks by Mann set the platform for Tanimo Samoa to make a clean break, early in the second half. Scott Lewis was on his shoulder and he looked certain for a score but was hauled down just short of the line. Zanirato was then guilty of killing the ball at the ruck, earning a yellow card.
Bury scored twice during his absence.
Kivalu’s influence at the scrum gave Matt Edison the time and space to break blind and supply James Soloman who scored a converted try from 10 metres.
Giles narrowed the deficit with a well-taken opportunist drop goal but that represented the visitors’ final score as Bury then blew them away in an exhilarating 30 minutes.
First, James Soloman scored in the opposite corner to thunderous applause, Cook converting, before Samoa threw out an outrageous long pass to Chris Snelling at full pace, the captain crossing the line for the bonus point.
Tonbridge are one of the league’s top sides and, despite the game slipping away from them, they never gave up.
The hosts scored a fifth try with nine minutes remaining. Gibson powered through the initial defence allowing the ball to be passed right to Snelling, he eluded his first tackler and then chipped over the on rushing full back for a glorious solo score.
With a minute to go, Tonbridge’s Giles made a fantastic break, avoiding several wouldbe tacklers, for what seemed like a certain score under the posts. However, he had not bargained for Soloman, who dived to prevent the try.