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Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford looking for Wolfpack to raise levels again for home test with in-form Canterbury

Bury St Edmunds’ players will be looking to deliver some early Christmas cheer at The Greene King IPA Haberden against in-form Canterbury tomorrow (3pm) – but Jacob Ford has warned they will have to raise their levels to do so.

Only a match-ending penalty kick from the boot of Matt Harrison denied them a sixth straight victory in National League 2 East in a 34-34 draw in Kent at Westcombe Park.

But The Wolfpack’s head coach and director of rugby felt their performance was way off what he expects.

RUGBY - Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club head coach Jacob FordPicture: Mecha Morton
RUGBY - Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club head coach Jacob FordPicture: Mecha Morton

"We were left pretty disappointed after the weekend,” said Ford.

"We thought our performance was nowhere near our expectations that we have of ourselves.

"We thought we could probably dip in and out of the game and get away with it but that wasn't to be the case in the end.

Will Christie could be in line to return from injury tomorrow Picture: Richard Marsham
Will Christie could be in line to return from injury tomorrow Picture: Richard Marsham

"Listen, it's not the end of the world, we got three points. We wanted to get five but learning-wise and experience-wise I think we'll be a lot better for it."

George Grigg-Pettitt had broke through for an early converted try but Combe hit back with two of their own and a penalty try. Will Attfield and Samir Kharbouch landed scores for the visitors which saw them trailing 19-17 at the interval.

A George Loose try was replied to by the hosts’ Ricky Gould for 24-24.

The see-saw affair continued with Attfield getting his second try before they were again pegged back.

But Bury looked to have done enough for victory when Ben Penfold’s penalty put them three points clear before Harrison ended up having the final say.

It leaves The Wolfpack fifth in the table ahead of hosting a Canterbury side one place and five points below them after winning their last four on the bounce.

“Canterbury are a tough team to beat,” said Ford.

"They've been doing really well this year and they've got a tough set-piece for sure.

"We're going to be challenged at the weekend and for us it's just what we can do, especially with the ball, and making sure we're looking like ourselves again in terms of how we put our intention on the game, that's really important.”

Bury go into their final home fixture before Christmas and of the calendar year looking to maintain their perfect home record this term, having won all six games.

Ford said: "We've just got to find a way to get that ball moving again in terms of that momentum.

"These three games now are a big focus for us and then we can have a good rest over Christmas.”

He is once again set to be without captain Matt Bursey (hamstring), Ben Leng (concussion) and Brayden Porteous (sternum), while Ben Kelland is suspended.

However, scrum-half Will Christie could be back involved after recovering from a pulled hamstring.

*Bury St Edmunds Women made it back-to-back victories in Women’s Championship Midlands 2 with Sunday’s 40-7 home win against basement side Sutton Coldfield, which also doubled as a cup match.

Hollie Walsh crossed the whitewash three times to be named player-of-the-match.

Liam Leeson's side, who lie in a mid-table fourth, are back in action at The Haberden on Sunday with second-placed Hitchin Ladies the visitors.