Bury St Edmunds aiming to build on winning start to new season during trip to Worthing
Bury St Edmunds head to the south coast to take on Worthing tomorrow (3pm) looking to back up a pleasing opening to their long-awaited return to National League 2 South action.
Last Saturday, the Wolfpack managed to overturn a half-time 19-10 deficit at home to a Canterbury outfit who were relegated from National League 1 last time out to end 30-22 victors.
It saw the new era – featuring six debutants in the starting XV under head coach and director of rugby Jacob Ford – get off to a winning start.
“Obviously it was a great start and it is always nice to kick the season off with a win,” said Ford.
“We are looking to install our principles and beliefs in the game and it was pleasing to see them do that in our play at the weekend.
“But it is just a start really and now we’ve got to back it up and go down to Worthing and win again.”
Fin Creighton, a scrum-half signed from Cambridge, had got the first competitive action for the team in 18 months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, off to the perfect start with a try inside 90 seconds on Saturday. Former Bedford Blues utility back Charlie Reed, also a new signing, converted.
But Canterbury eventually breached a disciplined Bury defence to hit back with a converted try in the 25th minute. And the Kent side took and built a lead with two scores from lineouts before a successful Reed penalty reduced it to nine points heading into the interval.
A chip and chase from Mike Stanway, converted by Reed, soon reduced the gap to two before Bury soaked up pressure well and secured a turnover which directly led to captain Matt Bursey going over. The added conversion put the hosts into a 24-19 lead.
Reed’s penalty after sustained pressure stretched it before it was brought back to five with a Canterbury kick also going over.
Reed reduced the pressure in the 73rd minute with another penalty giving them an eight-point lead.
Canterbury ended the game strongly but the Bury defence refused to buckle, to the delight of their coach.
“I think the most pleasing thing for me as a coach was we always felt in control of the game, even though we were 19-10 down at half-time we always had opportunities to score,” said Ford.
“I thought at the start of the second half we were really impressive.
“We had got a bit unlucky with the tries we conceded but we stuck to our game-plan and credit to the lads as they had belief and patience in what we were doing which paid off.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, he said: “I know Worthing’s coach very well so it will be nice and personal for us as we know a lot about each other.
“It will just be about how much I can get the lads fired up for what will be a fantastic occasion. It is their centenary year celebrations and I understand the ball is going to be parachuted on to the pitch and there will be fireworks and all sorts.”
Fly-half Ben Penfold, who has moved across from Cambridge as a player-coach, is set to come into the squad for the first time with fellow new no9 Freddie Roddick now absent, having been called up to the Great Britain 7s squad for the HSBC Canada Sevens tournament in Vancouver and Edmonton later this month.
Ford said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for Freddie and he’s a fantastic sevens player.”
Former captain Ollie Watson will not be involved tomorrow due to concussion protocols.