Hogg keen to test promotion credentials

HARD-FOUGHT WIN: Match action from Bury St Edmunds' 39-14 victory over Westcliff as Scott Lewis (centre) looks to break free from the opposition
HARD-FOUGHT WIN: Match action from Bury St Edmunds' 39-14 victory over Westcliff as Scott Lewis (centre) looks to break free from the opposition

NATIONAL LEAGUE THREE LONDON AND SOUTH EAST: Bury 39 Westcliff 14: Director of rugby Gavin Hogg has challenged his Bury St Edmunds squad to prove their promotion credentials at high flying London Irish Wild Geese.

The Haberden-based outfit head to Middlesex tomorrow (3pm) in good form, with victory over Westcliff sealing a second successive win.

And with their opponents sitting in second place in the league, Hogg is keen for his side to test their promotion aspirations.

“We need to up our levels from last week because we have the opportunity to climb the table again,” he said.

“It is a chance to mark ourselves against a team with similar ambitions and I think it will come down to small margins.

“We will go into the game with confidence and hopefully we can build on our strong form.”

The first half saw the 
visitors start strongly, with Sam Reynolds testing the home defence.

After 10 minutes, and against the run of play, Bury broke away, the ball was recycled through Loma Tivalu in midfield to James Solomon, who had the ever present Charlie Precious on his shoulder to score the opener in the corner. Mike Sage missed the difficult conversion.

Bury then upped the tempo, and a fine break on the blindside by Matt Edison saw the ball quickly recycled for Tivula to bulldoze his way over the line. The conversion again missed.

The rest of the half, in worsening weather conditions, saw a midfield tussle, dominated by kicking from both sides. Westcliff appeared to win the war of attrition, with a series of penalties awarded against the home side, and Jack Jones reduced the deficit to just four points at half-time.

The rejuvenated hosts came out after the interval and scored a flurry of tries as they quickly stretched their lead.

The first of which saw Rawcliffe made great yards, before his excellent grubber kick was gathered by James Solomon to score, with Sage successfully converting.

Shortly after, Scott Lewis made a lightning break through the Westcliff defence, offloading to Sam Bixby, before the quickly-recycled ball was moved to Tivalu to score his second of the match. Sage again converted.

Bury cemented their win with a fast orthodox blindside play from a scrum, quick hands putting the skipper Snelling over in the corner.

Westcliff, to their credit, continued to press, and they were rewarded with a fine try out wide by Greg Bannister.