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Bury St Edmunds hunting fifth win in a row against Leicester Lions



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Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford believes Saturday’s nail-biting 44-43 home win over Old Albanian is further proof of the forward strides his team has taken in recent weeks.

It was certainly an entertaining afternoon of rugby for those in attendance at the GK IPA Haberden, where the lead changed hands on a few occasions and the final outcome came down to the last piece of action.

Thankfully for the hosting Wolfpack the decisive Old Albanian conversion went wide – and as a result it handed Ford’s side a fourth straight National League 2 South victory in a row.

Jacob Ford's Bury are looking to continue their recent winning form. Picture: Mark Westley
Jacob Ford's Bury are looking to continue their recent winning form. Picture: Mark Westley

However, it was a game that Ford felt his team could well have lost earlier in the season.

“It was a match that had everything. We’d score and then they’d score straight from the kick -off and vice-versa – that happened a couple of times,” he said.

“But overall we felt we deserved to win the match and we’d have been bitterly disappointed to have lost it late on.

Captain Matt Bursey scored Bury's first try last weekend. Picture by Mark Westley
Captain Matt Bursey scored Bury's first try last weekend. Picture by Mark Westley

“I look back to some of other games this season, like Clifton and Esher, when we couldn’t find a way to win those when we probably should have done.

“It’s a difficult challenge but you’ve got to find a way to win and the fact we’re doing that at the moment shows our progression.

“It’s building momentum and winning is a habit, just like losing is.

“You get games when you’re one point ahead and you have to defend to see it out. Earlier in the season maybe we couldn’t do it but now we are showing character.”

And Bury will have to show plenty more of that aforementioned ‘character’ when they play host to Leicester Lions tomorrow (3pm).

Seventh-placed Bury go into the encounter one place and six points adrift of their visitors, who also have a game in hand.

Closing the gap between the two teams is Ford’s number one aim, but he also hopes the players are incentivised by the opportunity of bouncing back from the 49-26 defeat they suffered in November’s reverse fixture.

He said: “Leicester are a fantastic team and they probably do offer a bit more than where they are at in the league.

“We deserved to lose at their place, we were well beaten and it was our poorest performance of the season.

“Our challenge is to go out there, prove a point and right some of those wrongs.

“Hopefully we can fly into the game and claw a few points back on them.”

In the topsy-turvy encounter with Old Albanian, early tries from skipper Matt Bursey and Ben Cooper – both converted by Charlie Reed – handed Bury a 14-0 lead.

The visitors responded with two tries – one of which was converted – to reduce the arrears but Reed once again showed good accuracy with the boot from a penalty to make it 17-12 in Bury’s favour.

Another Reed penalty extended the advantage further, but it was Old Albanian who headed into the break in the ascendancy 24-20 after a couple of tries.

The visitors were first to dot down in the second half, and with Bury finding themselves playing against the wind, the writing seemed to be on the wall.

Yet, recent signing Will Attfield opened his try-scoring account for the club and after Reed added the conversion, Bury were back in business.

Attfield went on to score a second try – along with one from man-of- the-match Yas Browne – to put the hosts in command. And while there was a spirited late fightback from Old Albanian that added to the nerves among the home supporters, the missed conversion proved to be crucial as Bury held on.