Bury St Edmunds 37
Worthing Raiders 30
Bury St Edmunds captain Liam McBride was pleased to return to winning ways on Saturday but believes the collapse in the last 10 minutes is a lesson that needs to be quickly learned.
The Wolfpack had recovered from a slow start where their 13th placed opponents had run into a 15-3 lead to put in a storming start to the second half, pulling 22 points clear at 37-15.
But it was far from a triumphant march to the finish line as Worthing were able to score twice in the last 10 minutes, as well as adding a penalty kick, to close the gap to a converted try by the final whistle.
And New Zealand-born Holland international McBride, who has now taken on the captain’s mantle following Tom Rock’s departure, is keen to ensure that kind of complacency does not cost them matches going forwards.
“We know the last couple of weeks we have put in a performance but we haven’t been able to finish it off,” he said.
“In the last 10 minutes today we didn’t finish it off very well as well. But we came back, especially when they got a good head start in that first half and just kept them under pressure and scored straight away in that second half which was good for us.
“We just need to get better at closing out the games, that’s for sure.
“I think complacency is the word. I think we got too comfortable that we were 20 points ahead. And when you get in those situations that is when you need to get a bit more ruthless and finish them off.”
With the wind against them, it was a mistake by Chris Lord from a long kick forward, misjudging the bounce, that let in Kemp Price for his first try, unconverted, inside three minutes.
Bury were not looking at the races in the set piece either and, after McBride and Mathew McLean added a penalty for each side to the scoreboard, it was Price who stole in for a second try just before the half-hour mark, this time converted by McLean for 15-3.
Bury left themselves open to a break down the left and were not able to land a tackle as McLean offloaded to Price.
The hosts began to find their composure though and sustained pressure inside the Worthing 22 led to two tries before the end of the half, from Dan Switherbank and replacement Sean Stapleton, the latter converted, to tie things up at 15 all.
Bury continued the momentum into the second half with Dwayne Corcoran finishing a swift passing move in the left corner inside three minutes to put them into the lead for the first time.
Just four minutes later Boyd Rouse went over from close range on the right for the bonus point with McBride this time converting, before soon adding a penalty for 30-15.
Corcoran nipped through a gap for his second try with 10 minutes remaining, again converted.
But Bury’s foot clearly came off the gas as Worthing managed to score two pushover tries; Price for his hat-trick and Matthew Walsh, which was added to by a McLean penalty with the final kick, to make it an unsastifying finish for The Wolfpack.
Of taking on the captain’s armband, 26-year-old McBride said: “I did a fair bit when I was back in New Zealand but it is always an honour. You get a bit of pride when you are a captain, especially at a club like Bury that has such good support as well.”