PRIMA TIGER CUP
Bury St Edmunds 1 Melbourne 0
BURY St Edmunds Under-10s have been crowned Prima Tiger Cup champions after a hard fought 1-0 win over Melbourne, from Derbyshire, in a thrilling final at Welford Road on Sunday.
Now in its 18th year, the competition is a contact tournament open to teams from across the country with more than 50 sides entering this year’s competition.
Bury reached the knockout stages of the competition after qualifying from their regional festival held at Swaffham RFC in November.
They went on to beat Leicestershire’s Syston in the quarter-finals and Rutland side Oakham in the last four to clinch their place in Sunday’s showpiece final.
Despite harsh weather conditions affecting the playing surface, Melbourne started strongly making early inroads into Bury territory, but some fearless tackling from Harvey Hempsted, Harvey Williams and Paddy Mountford knocked down the best the Derbyshire side could throw at them.
The Bury forwards of George, Oliver T, and Ellis drove the side forward while the backs consisting of Paddy, Max, Harvey, Nicholas and Oliver R, continued to apply strong pressure on the opposition line.
Despite a dominant period for Bury, half time was blown for with neither side managing to make a breakthrough, resulting in a goalless score at the break.
The second half continued where the first had left off and despite the rain and wind Bury’s handling, retention, and commitment remained excellent but still Melbourne’s defensive line couldn’t be breeched.
However, ultimately the barrage of wide runs from Mountford, Derbyshire, Williams and Cardozo, and high tempo drives from Barker, Thompson, Kilbane and Rowe proved too much for Melbourne as with just three minutes remaining they succumbed to the pressure as Ellis Kilbane managed to twist and squirm his way over the line from a ruck in the corner.
Melbourne responded in search of the equaliser but Bury held firm and with intelligent ball retention managed to run down the clock and seal the victory.
“That was the best, most competitive game we have had all year,” said Bury coach David Mountford.
“All credit to Melbourne, who played a fantastic game.
“Our boys have trained hard and gave all they could. They put in a fantastic performance and put into place all of the things they have been taught, we are really proud.
“To run down the steps at Welford Road, to play three times at the home of Leicester Tigers and to win the Prima Tiger Cup is something they will all take with them for the rest of their lives.”
The Cup presentation was made in front of the 20,000 strong Welford Road crowd and the entire Bury Under-10s squad made their way around the pitch for a lap of honour to ringing applause from the supporters.