Bury St Edmunds winger Will Affleck reflects on 'proud day' after reaching 100 caps with Jacob Ford hoping others will go on to reach milestone
The 29-year-old winger joined the Wolfpack ahead of the 2015/16 season, the club’s first season following promotion to the National League set-up.
And he marked it with a characteristic dash to the try-line as a stirring end to the game saw Bury claim the two bonus points by narrowing the deficit on the scoreboard to four.
The Watton-based player was handed the honour of leading the team out onto the pitch, through the flag waving Minis players and a green smoke bomb.
He was then presented with a commemorative 100 shirt on the pitch following the match.
“It was a really proud day,” he said. “I didn’t really reflect on it too much until today and I am incredibly proud to pull on any shirt to represent Bury and a club like this for the people in the town.
“I will look to continue to do that for as long as I can.
“I would have taken a win over anything but it is still a proud day.”
Speaking about his second-half try, Bury’s penultimate one five minutes from time, he said: “I just got on the end of Shaq (Meyers) and he doesn’t get tackled very often so I knew if he was going to get through one he would probably get through two.
“It was just glory hunting really but I will take it.
“To finish within a bonus point and take a couple of bonus points (four tries) that is really important but the bottom line is we could have got more from that against a really, really good side.”
Meanwhile, head coach and director of rugby Jacob Ford hopes a change in recruitment policy to more locally-based players will mean supporters soon starting seeing others reach the three-figure milestone.
“It was a great day for Will and like I said to everyone at the club before the game, hopefully over the next two to three years we’ll see more people getting 100 caps,” he said. “And that will just show the recruitment policy has changed and how we want to move forward.”
Inconsistent display frustrates coach
Frustration was the over-riding emotion for Ford following his side’s 40-36 home defeat to Esher.
The Wolfpack trailed 30-10 at half-time after some sloppy defensive errors were punished with the Surrey visitors’ lethal finishing showing why they are challenging Redruth for the top spot.
A stirring response followed the hosts in the second half to see them pick up two losing bonus points but for Ford it was a case of reflecting on what could have been, despite being pleased with the character shown.
He said: “I thought the two half performances were very different from us.
“I said to the lads at the end you could say we gave two intercept tries, you take them away and we comfortably win the game.
“Or you could look at it and go first half we weren’t good enough. We didn’t do anything we said we would’ve done and we didn’t show that commitment that we usually show.
“But then in the second half we came out and we were honest with each other and said right, let’s dig deep and go after it, which we did.
“It’s nice to see that but ultimately you need to show that from minute one and for 80 minutes of the game.”
He added: “It’s frustrating because for me we haven’t learnt from the Clifton game (previous home game) where we went 17-0 down and same here with being 30-10 down at half-time.
“We’re not starting games well and we usually pride ourselves on that so it is definitely something we need to look at.”
Ahead of flying out to face an eighth-placed Guernsey side tomorrow (2pm), who are two spots above themselves, Ford said of the way they ended the game: “I am hoping that gives us confidence to play the way we want to play and kick on.
“It will be a great test of our character at Guernsey and the challenge from us is to be on it from the start and ultimately show that commitment throughout the game.”
Wing duo Mike Stanway (hamstring) and Ciaran Leeson (ankle) are set to return but fellow wideman Levi-Jack Roper (knee) is likely to miss out.