Worthing Raiders push Bury St Edmunds all the way but unbeaten home run goes on in National League 2 South
Bury St Edmunds’ unbeaten home record remains intact, but only just as in-form Worthing pushed them all the way, writes Simon Lord.
Dan Walshe’s try on 66 minutes appeared to have sealed the game for The Wolfpack, but the Raiders refused to die down and late scores by Liam Perkins and Sam Boyland secured two losing bonus points for the visitors with the scoreboard finishing at 36-31.
The sides shared five tires apiece in this fast and open contest which probably suited the visitors best.
Having opened the scoring after just 90 seconds courtesy of a Kodie Hawkins penalty, Bury then conceded a sloppy try directly from the restart.
The kick-off was allowed to bounce and Harry Forrest burst onto the ball to race into the Bury 22. Although he was stopped short there was no way Luke Elliott was going to be denied.
After the frantic start, the game began to calm down with the Bury forwards beginning to assert control, but as it has been in recent weeks, silly penalties denied promising positions.
Worthing showed just how dangerous they could be with ball in space and only a forward pass prevented left wing Barnes from scoring.
Worthing, on the back of four consecutive victories, were understandably brimming with confidence whilst Bury seemed slightly subdued.
Finally, on 25 minutes pressure at the scrum gave Bury the chance to kick deep and create an attacking platform.
Ben Leng and Walshe carried the ball well before the Bury forwards were held up near the line. However, they were not to be denied as from the resulting scrum, The Wolfpack drove over the line for No 8 Ethan Wilson to score on his debut.
With his forwards in the ascendency, fly half Hawkins was revelling in the open space being afforded him.
A 50-metre solo break could not be finished off but it looked like he had created a try with a clever chip over the defence only for Bury to be penalised for crossing.
As the half drew to a close, Worthing once again launched a flowing counter attack. However, Ronnie Du Randt dragged his opposite number down and was then first to his feet to turn over the ball.
The quick-thinking Hawkins kicked cross field where Ciaran Leeson did brilliantly well to first catch the ball, step inside to draw the defence and then deftly off load the ball to the supporting Alfie Garside for a glorious try. Hawkins converted to send Bury into the changing rooms 17-5 ahead.
If the first half had been enjoyable to watch then the second period was superb with scores arriving at regular intervals.
Du Randt almost opened his account after just two minutes but was bundled into touch metres short.
It was, however, Worthing who opened the scoring with a fabulous team try.
The ball was moved quickly from a line-out inside their own half before passing through several pairs ofhands in a blink of an eye to send Harry Forrest racing away for the try.
Bury’s response was instant. Tom Brown’s determined break created the space for Garside to run into and the young full back showed a clean pair of heels to all his would-be chasers for a try by the posts.
Brown’s god work in helping create the try was then undone when he was shown a yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball down to halt a promising attack. The Raiders made Bury pay as captain Perkins spun off the side of an attacking line-out to prove unstoppable from 10 metres. Matt Maclean’s fine conversion brought the score back to 24-19 and much of Bury’s earlier dominance had been undone.
Ben Cooper and his cohorts turned up the heat at scrum time, earning Bury a penalty. Hawkins’ long-range penalty attempt went just under the crossbar but from the resulting 22 drop out, Bury collected their bonus point earning fourth try.
Hawkins fielded the kick and then chipped back over the advancing players. The fly half back appeared to be obstructed, but a retreating Tom Milosevic, with a hint of being offside, gathered the ball and looped the ball up for Will Affleck to race onto and in by the posts.
Restored to a full 15, Bury pushed to close the game out.
Another scrum penalty was kicked deep and Hawkins almost weaved his way over from 30m. However, there was to be no stopping Walshe. The hooker was never going to be denied as he charged onto the ball from close range.
Having toiled in the scrum for most of the day, the closing quarter of the match saw the Raiders earn several penalties at the set piece.
Perkins took advantage to power his way over from close range for his second try.Leng saw yellow in the build up and reduced to 14 for the last seven minutes.
Bury tried to hold out but with the last play of the game, scrum half Boyland squeezed his way over to earn a deserved second point as the Raiders’ forwards laid siege to the Bury line.
The Wolfpack remain eighth in the table ahead of travelling to take on second-placed Henley Hawks on Saturday (3pm).
Bury: Tries: Wilson 27’, Garside 40’, 50’, Affleck 58’, Walshe 66’; Cons: Hawkins 4; Pens: Hawkins.
Worthing: Tries: Luke 3’, Forrest 48’, Perkins 52’, 73, Boyland 80’; Cons: Maclean 3; Pens: None.
Star Man:Kodie Hawkins
Bury: Garside, Du Randt, Leng, Miekle,Leeson ,Hawkins, Harvey:
Robinson, Walsh, Cooper, Leo, Green, Brown, Milosevic, Wilson:
Res: Waldouck, Hill, Bailey, Affleck, Dusi
Worthing: McClean, Forrest, Forrest, Gywther, Barnes, Anscombe, Boyland:
Birch, Luke, Litterick, Perkins, Lake, Whittall, Dawe, Richards.
Res: Gibson, Gatford, Lee, Irving, Leeming.