LONDON 1 NORTH - Bury St Edmunds 36 Letchworth 14
Bury produced an outstanding first-half display to blow away a decent Letchworth side.
Bury ran in four first-half tries to win the match in the first 40 minutes.
Will Martin scored his side’s first try, receiving the ball from Matt Briggs, after skipper Martin Webdale was hauled down from a scrum, seven metres out.
A successful conversion made, Martin then landed a penalty as Bury used the strong wind to their advantage to make it 10-0.
Within minutes of the penalty, Bury extended their lead. Centre Kenny Eggars, making a welcome return, burst through two tackles before finding Barry Frost outside him to slide over in the corner.
Letchworth narrowed the deficit to 15–7 with almost their first meaningful attack of the game.
The pressure from the Bury forwards was beginning to force mistakes from a clearly shell-shocked visiting side.
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Eggars should have got on the scoreboard when he charged down a kick, but he made a hash of grounding the ball and the East Midlands referee decided he had knocked the ball on.
James Maclachlan’s arrival at tight head for Bury has galvanised the forwards and an under pressure visiting scrum was forced into obstruction to clear their lines.
Bury’s Will Martin then took a quick penalty from eight metres out and, although he was halted, there was no stopping Tony Fox who powered over. The home pack were enjoying themselves and a superb scrum earned them another penalty. The ball was kicked into the corner and skipper Webdale was swept over by his team-mates. Martin converted.
Within minutes of the restart Letchworth were reduced to 14 men. The Black and Amber’s prop was rather unlucky to be carded for what appeared to be a team yellow for persistent offences.
Despite being a man down, the visitors did reduce the deficit with a glorious solo try.
Bury were getting a little nervous and Martin was caught in possession a couple of times but Letchworth could not capitalise.
Both Cornell and Fox were having outstanding games for dominant Bury on the flanks and they were a constant thorn in several Letchworth attacks. The visiting referee ensured he would not be on the Letchworth Christmas card list when he yellow carded a second player – this time for knocking Jones into touch without using any arms.
Bury used their numerical advantage to secure a fifth and final try.
The pack were rewarded for all their efforts when they were awarded a penalty try as the Letchworth scrum disintegrated.
As the Green and Gold’s drove for the line, the ball was deliberately kicked out of Kerney’s possession giving the referee no option.