Bury St Edmunds respond to first defeat with comfortable bonus point victory at home to winless Rochford Hundred
Bury St Edmunds bounced back from last week's 29-21 loss at Worthing with a bonus point 29-3 National League 2 South victory against Rochford Hundred to make it two wins from two at the Haberden in 2021/22, writes Andy Herlihy.
It was over a decade since the two sides last met, in the London leagues. But unfortunately the home crowd and the Bury players had to wait a further hour with Saturday afternoon's kick off delayed on account of the Rochford coach breaking down.
In the early exchanges Bury showed their attacking intent, however the first quarter was an error strewn affair with neither side able to make headway.
Bury's indiscipline punctuated play and it was Rochford that profited.
A series of penalties took play deep in to the Bury 22 and on 23 minutes another penalty five metres out gave the Rochford 10 Sam Cappaert an easy three points.
For the next 10 minutes play followed a similar pattern, although Bury seemed more intent to hold on to possession and their attacking prowess came to the fore.
A series of plays took Bury into the Rochford 22 and some slick handling led to a try by full-back Charlie Reed which he converted himself with just over 32 minutes gone.
Moments later Bury extended their lead, a quickly taken penalty was halted cynically and led to a yellow card for Rochford's Todd Bailey. Bury kicked to Rochford's 22 before a successful lineout saw ball delivered off the top and a period of sustained pressure resulted in a try for replacement wing Mike Stanway. Reed added the conversion for 14-3 to Bury.
The half ended with more errors from both sides but with Bury looking the more satisfied.
Rochford kicked off the second half and the large crowd were treated to a bout of kicking tennis with neither side able to make inroads.
Bury continued to offend at the breakdown and their indiscipline prevented them gaining decent momentum and relieved the pressure on the Rochford defence.
When Bury were able to maintain possession they were quick to make ground and one such period of play led to a penalty converted on 50 by Reed.
The hosts maintained possession from the restart and a series of phases led to a popular try for captain Matt Bursey, though the conversion did not make it for the score to remain 22-3.
The next passage of play was punctuated by penalties on both sides and the shapeless play resulted in a head injury to birthday boy Shaq Meyers who had to leave the field approaching the hour mark.
Bury's penalty count reached 15 and again an error strewn period of play caused frustration for both teams, but it was Rochford that incurred the wrath of the official with their fourth yellow card.
It was then Rochford's turn to concede consecutive penalties and Bury, in search of the bonus point fourth try, sped play up and were rewarded with a try on 71 for winger Ciaran Leeson. Reed added the extras to move the scoreboard to 29-3.
Rochford went in search of a try of their own and series of forceful incursions by their No8 Maciu Nabogi took play over the Bury line, however, the referee adjudged the ball was held up.
Instead of a tryline drop out the referee took Rochford back for a 17th penalty. But the visiotors were unable to take advantage and the match ended in the way it had developed, with another error.
Bury will be pleased with a bonus point home win but might rue what could have been with better discipline and sustained possession, while Rochford will feel hard done by in failing to cross the Wolfpack's line.
The result leaves Bury seventh in the early table ahead of Saturday's trip to face Dings Crusaders (3pm), who have won one and lost two of their opening fixtures.