Home   Bury St Edmunds   Sport   Article

Bury St Edmunds claim bonus points in defeat to joint leaders Esher with Will Affleck scoring on his 100th Wolfpack appearance



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


It was the proverbial game of two halves for Bury St Edmunds this afternoon as they ultimately came up just short in a 40-36 defeat to joint National League 2 South leaders Esher at the GK IPA Haberden.

After bursting out of the blocks to lead 7-0 (Penfold) and 10-5 (Reed) in the opening 10 minutes their Surrey visitors showed why they are at the summit with a lethal display of finishing, fully punishing some woeful defensive errors.

They scored the next 30 points to take a 20 advantage into the interval and leave the 400-plus crowd wondering how much more damage they would inflict on the Suffolk side.

Ben Penfold scores an early try for Bury St Edmunds against joint league leaders Esher Picture: Mecha Morton
Ben Penfold scores an early try for Bury St Edmunds against joint league leaders Esher Picture: Mecha Morton

But to their credit Jacob Ford's side were the ones who showed what they were made of in the second period, with four tries – for Chris Bolton, Shaq Meyers, Will Affleck and Charlie Reed –in a stirring response.

They left the door open twice though for Esher to sandwich the two pairs of scores to ensure they only counted for two bonus points in defeat.

On his 100th appearance for the club winger Affleck got the honour of leading the Wolfpack out.

Will Affleck leads the Bury St Edmunds team out for his 100th appearance Picture: Mecha Morton
Will Affleck leads the Bury St Edmunds team out for his 100th appearance Picture: Mecha Morton

Their lofty visitors had won their last five games on the bounce but it was Bury who made the perfect start, scoring a converted in under two-and-a-half minutes.

The Wolfpack worked eight phases following securing a deep line-out with a long kick and after Affleck broke the defensive line, Ben Cooper laid up for Ben Penfold to run in and dive over by the posts. Reed brough up the extras with the conversion.

Esher replied within four minutes with hooker Andy Hamilton grounding from a rolling maul following a deep lineout of their own. But Sam Morley managed to miss the easy-looking conversion.

A successful penalty from Reed from the 22 put Bury into a 10-5 lead in the ninth minute.

But Esher were level pegging four minutes later after full-back Jack Lavin was cleverly picked out with a kick that switched the play to catch Bury out, again unconverted.

The first of two tries gifted to their opponents followed as Bury sent a goal-line drop out, after Bolton did well to intercept at the crucial moment, straight to Lavin who sent it back over the posts.

In the 23rd minute another well worked forward-driven effort ended with Hamilton getting the ball down once again as Morley's kick sailed just to the right of the posts.

Bury St Edmunds players and club officials carried out a shirt presentation to Will Affleck following the match with esher to mark his 100th appearance for the club Picture: Mecha Morton
Bury St Edmunds players and club officials carried out a shirt presentation to Will Affleck following the match with esher to mark his 100th appearance for the club Picture: Mecha Morton

Bursey broke through up the other end in a now rare Bury attack after some clever passing but failed to find adequate support.

A bad mistake from Bury's no8 Craig Stevenson then followed as he threw the ball on half-way straight to Levin who had the speed to carry it all the way in for another unconverted score.

Ben Penfold is hugged by Fin McCartney after putting Bury St Edmunds into an early lead against Esher Picture: Mecha Morton
Ben Penfold is hugged by Fin McCartney after putting Bury St Edmunds into an early lead against Esher Picture: Mecha Morton

The half ended with Bury wasting a good opportunity to ensure they trailed by 20 points at the interval.

With Yasin Browne and Cam Greenhall entering the fray they suddenly looked a different side, dominating the opening 15 minutes.

It was when Esher saw a man sent to the sin bin for a repeat infringement six minutes after play restarted that a series of forward-driven phases allowed Bolton to break over the line under the posts. Reed added the simple conversion.

Robert Conquest takes a lineout for Bury Picture: Mecha Morton
Robert Conquest takes a lineout for Bury Picture: Mecha Morton

But on the hour mark Esher reminded them of that any errors would be punished as Ruaraidh Smith ran in down the right-hand side.

Less than three minutes later it was 40-24 to the Surrey side as swift hands saw replacement Myles Rawstron-Rudd take up the lay off to run in to the left of the posts. Lavin missed the conversion attempt, this time.

Five minutes from time Bury found a way in down the left wing to reduce the deficit to 11 points with Affleck capping his century appearance with an unconverted try after Meyers' initial break.

Ross Taylor looks to break through a tackle Picture: Mecha Morton
Ross Taylor looks to break through a tackle Picture: Mecha Morton

With the home fans roaring them on, The Wolfpack ended strongly, scoring with what proved the last play with Reed exchanging passes with Penfold on his way to the line. Reed's conversion meant they ended just four points short.

It was back-to-back home defeats for Bury but a sense of pride had been reclaimed for the way they had responded to the setbacks within what proved to be an eventful match.

Having started the day in ninth in the table, Jacob Ford's side ended it in 10th and with a long trip to eighth-placed Guernsey up next weekend.

Bury St Edmunds: 15 Reed 14 Affleck 13 Roper 12 Kharbouch 11 Taylor 10 Penfold 9 Bolton 1 Hill 2 McCartney 3 Cooper 4 Kelland 5 Conquest 6 Bursey 7 Meyers 8 Stevenson. Replacements: Strainge, Parilli-O'Campo, Browne, Greenhall, Creighton.

Coaches Man of the Match: Will Affleck.

Ben Kelland finds no way through the Esher defence Picture: Mecha Morton
Ben Kelland finds no way through the Esher defence Picture: Mecha Morton

Samir Kharbouch makes a tackle for Bury St Edmunds on his return from injury Picture: Mecha Morton
Samir Kharbouch makes a tackle for Bury St Edmunds on his return from injury Picture: Mecha Morton

Chris Bolton scores a try for Bury St Edmunds in the second half Picture: Mecha Morton
Chris Bolton scores a try for Bury St Edmunds in the second half Picture: Mecha Morton

Bury St Edmunds captain Matt Bursey bursts past his man against Esher Picture: Mecha Morton
Bury St Edmunds captain Matt Bursey bursts past his man against Esher Picture: Mecha Morton

Bury's Ben Cooper is tackled as he tries to gain ground Picture: Mecha Morton
Bury's Ben Cooper is tackled as he tries to gain ground Picture: Mecha Morton

Will Affleck bursts through to score a try for Bury St Edmunds on his 100th appearance for the club Picture: Mecha Morton
Will Affleck bursts through to score a try for Bury St Edmunds on his 100th appearance for the club Picture: Mecha Morton