Bury St Edmunds banish bogey side Worthing with seven converted tries at fortress Haberden
Bury St Edmunds scored seven converted tries at the Greene King IPA Haberden this afternoon to comfortably break a frustrating run of results against Worthing and keep their perfect home record intact in a 49-12 victory.
Leading 14-0 at half-time in their return from a two-week break, Jacob Ford’s side punished injury-hit Worthing in the second period with five more seven-point scores to one to rack up a fifth straight victory on Suffolk soil this term.
What was a third win on the spin for The Wolfpack maintains their fifth place position in the National League 2 East table while the defeat, a sixth in eight matches, sees the Sussex side drop to second bottom.
It was the first game for three weeks for either side, following the league’s two-week break for the end of the World Cup in France, with Worthing arriving having got the better of Bury on the last four occasions across the last two seasons, albeit by small margins.
Despite the deluge of wet weather from Storm Ciarán, which had left the Minis pitches firmly under water, the groundstaff presented a pitch which looked in excellent condition as the sun shone through after the morning rain.
Bury head coach and director of rugby Jacob Ford’s starting selection showed five changes from their last outing, a first away win of the campaign which came by a 45-31 scoreline at Wimbledon.
Paddy Robinson, Archie Bourne, Shaq Meyers, Will Christie and Harry Barker also came in, with Shaun Spriddell, Ewan Kingdom, Brayden Porteous, Joe Collier and Ben Penfold all unavailable.
A high tackle on Bury skipper Matt Bursey inside the opening minute saw the referee lay down the law by sending Worthing’s Makeen Alikhan to the sin bin.
The visitors soon broke quickly from a misplaced home pass inside their 22 but Will Attfield made a great recovery dive tackle to stop full-back Joshua Bellamy chasing down his own low kick.
Both sides had showed some rustiness in the opening stages but in the 14th minute Bury worked the ball well from the left-hand side to present Meyers with an opportunity to cross the line from close range, which he duly did just to the left of the posts. Kodie Drury-Hawkins put the simple kick over for the extras.
It was not long after Worthing had got back up to a full contingent that they lost scrum-half Cameron Dobinson to a yellow card for a no arms tackle.
But Bury were unable to take advantage again with Will Affleck not quite able to pick up George Loose’s kick through to the right corner.
The Wolpack’s pressure on the visitors’ line was rewarded with a second try in the 29th minute though, with George Grigg-Pettitt getting the ball down from close in, leaving another easy kick that Drury-Hawkins duly knocked over.
Worthing began to rack up some attacking phases of their own and choose to kick to the corner from a late penalty but just as it looked like they were on for a try of their own, number eight Sims Harrison was knocked into touch.
But the visitors were on the scoreboard within four minutes of the second half starting when they worked a lineout to within range for a pushover try grounded by Jack Doorey-Palmer, converted by Louis Ellis.
It took less than five minutes for Bury to restore their two-try advantage though with prop Bourne found in space to nip in down the right-hand side after the ball was shipped across from a five-metre scrum. Despite the angle being a test, Drury-Hawkins again pushed his kick over the posts.
The latter’s kicking in-play also continued to impress while Bury's were looking more assured in possession.
Replacement Kharbouch made an instant impact to their intention to run the ball in hand and it was from his initial break in the 65th minute that the bonus point try arrived, with a looping pass finding Barker’s run down the right. Drury-Hawkins knocked over the extras for 28-7 from a simple kick.
But the try of the match arrived four minutes later as a fine-flowing move from one side of the pitch to the other through swift hands found Will Attfield to provide the final metres down the left wing to thunderous applause. The tight angle left was one that was not a step too far for Drury-Hawkins to keep his 100 per cent run going.
A late tackle in the run up to the try saw Joshua Bellamy sent to the sin bin.
And this time Bury did punish them with an interception just inside Worthing’s half seeing Barker exhange passes with Will Christie down the irght before out-pacing the trailing defender for his second of the game. Callum Hall, the brother of Fraser, was brought on for his debut to kick over with his first touch.
Worthing did get a second try in the final minute when Robinson ran down a loose ball but kicked it straight into scrum-half Cameron Dobinson who ran clear to score next to the post. However, his haste to get the ball back in play saw him miss the simple kick.
There was still one more score to follow in the final passage of play though as the hosts deliver a seven converted try with Kharbouch getting the ball down on the right after good work from the forwards before Hall showed his capabilities from the tee with the extra two points.
The large home support showed their appreciation at the final whistle with the sizeable victory giving Ford’s side a confidence boost heading into next weekend’s tough test at league leaders Dorking, the first of two matches against the top two, with Barnes to follow at home.
Bury St Edmunds: 15 Affleck, 14 Barker, 13 Loose, 12 Leng (Kharbouch 61’), 11 Attfield, 10 Drury-Hawkins (Hall 71’), 9 Christie, 1 Robinson, 2 Bourne (McCarthney 61’), 3 Cooper, 4 Grigg-Pettitt, 5 Kelland, 22 Bursey (cpt), 7 Meyers, 8 Williams.
Unused replacements: 18 L Jeffrey, 17 Russell.
Coaches’ Man of the Match: Ruaraidh Williams.