Taunton takes chances to see off Bury at frozen Haberden
- Credit: Archant
National League Two South Bury 8 Taunton 22 If ever there was an exhibition in taking your chances when they come, then Taunton showed why they are still an outside bet for promotion at a bitterly cold Greene King IPA Haberden.
A healthy crowd of almost 400 braved the icy winds and would have been encouraged in the way Bury started the game.
The Wolfpack made slow steady yards as they recycled the ball over and over again. This reporter lost count of the number of phases Bury went through, but just when it looked like they had prised open the Taunton defence they were penalised for sealing off at the ruck.
As Bury grumbled, Taunton reacted! The penalty was taken quickly and ran from inside their own 22 Bury were caught cold and swift hands and quick feet saw centre Nick Mason putting the ball down between the posts moments later. It was a punch in the guts for Bury but flagged up just how dangerous the visitors were.
Kingdom added the extras and a penalty five minutes later when Tom Rock was unluckily adjudged to have not rolled away in the tackle.
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Then Taunton found themselves with an attacking line out close to the Bury try line. The catch and drive at second attempt, was well organised and hooker Jon Gatford was driven over by his forwards.
Taunton 15 points to the good after just a quarter of the game – not good!
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Bury plugged away, but didn’t seem to have their usual intensity or invention to unlock the maroon defence. However they did manage to get back into the game on the half hour.
A stolen line-out allowed the Bury forwards the chance to maul their way in field. The ball then came out to McBride whose clever step back inside created the space for Sam Sterling to power over.
Lyle could not quite add the extras but Bury were noticeably lifted by the score as they went in down 15-5.
The second half picked up where the first had finished. Gillespie and Stapleton were to the fore as the pack drove the ball forward, keeping it close and finally forcing Taunton into conceding a penalty. This time Lyle made no mistake and with 35 minutes left of the match, it was a one score game, 15-8.
Taunton re-grouped and with their livewire scrum half Lewis Webb constantly setting his side away rapidly and young No 8 Lawday making some impressive driving runs, it was Bury’s turn to defend.
Despite the bitterly cold conditions, the handling on display from both sides was very good. A midfield battle ensued but the difference between the sides was the speed of the Taunton defence. They suffocated the Bury attacks and forced them often to travel sideways before surrendering possession.
Tom Rock constantly tried to find space in a crowded midfield for Bury, whilst Trinder and Matt Edison did make yards when they changed the point of the attack, but on the whole Taunton remained calm, kept their shape and discipline and then countered with gusto!
With five minutes remaining and hopes still high, Taunton punished Bury clinically for a small mistake.
Just as Bury edged up to the Taunton 22 the ball was spilled.
Lawdray was the first to react, gathered up the ball and raced off down the blindside unchallenged for nearly 50 metres. The No 8 was dragged down but the numbers in support were good and one quick ruck later the ball was spread right for winger Tom Popham to dive over.