Gavin Hogg’s final home game at Bury St Edmunds ends in defeat to Canterbury
Bury were unable to grant outgoing coach Gavin Hogg a final home win as a resolute Canterbury did just enough to edge this disappointing game in National 2, 14-13.
A bumper crowd of 750, swelled by a healthy travelling support, had hoped for a free-flowing contest between two mid-table teams.
The match was meant to be a celebration of Hogg’s work over the last six years and the support of lead sponsor Adrian Lewis for 10 years of generously helping sponsor the club, but proved to be a below-par affair.
Bury made a promising start and scored a try after just five minutes through Liam McBride, but then failed to build on that, and only a penalty from Donovan O’Grady added to the home side’s score in the first half.
Both sides were guilty of almost trying too hard, looking to entertain, trying complex moves off first phase, rather than the more conventional, earning territory, building phases and working the opening.
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Max Cantwell dragged his side back into the contest on the half hour when he was bundled over by his fellow forwards after fellow flanker Fergie McCormick had cut through a hole in the Bury defence. Tom Best converted.
The second period continued in similar vein. Bury had the lion’s share of possession but lacked the nous or creativity to break down a tremendous Canterbury rearguard action.
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Both teams continued to be guilty of poor execution when it really mattered. The set piece was scrappy, kicks were wayward and often a final pass did not go to hand.
Bury thought they may have won the game when Will Affleck squeezed over in the corner on 67 minutes.
However rather than cement the home win that the crowd craved, they made a hash of the restart and gave Canterbury the chance to score from a resulting penalty.
Debate raged as to whether Best’s kick had gone dead, but instead a lineout 5m out was given and despite initial forward drives being stopped, scrum half Dan Smart burrowed over.
Best’s superb touchline conversion gave the Pilgrims a narrow lead.
The final five minutes saw Bury press for a winning score but as had happened for most of the match, their attacks were too lateral and lacked a cutting edge.