SSE NATIONAL LEAGUE THREE LONDON AND SOUTH EAST: Bury St Edmunds 16 Westcombe Park 18: Bury St Edmunds slipped to another home defeat after a disappointing performance against Westcombe Park at The Haberden on Saturday.
Will Martin had penalty kicks in the 75th and 79th minutes that would have won the game for Bury, but both slid agonisingly wide.
To be fair, had either gone over it would have papered over another performance that was littered with errors.
For the third week running, Bury failed to build on promising leads and, while the previous defeats had much to do with the opposition’s play, this time most of the fault lied at their own feet.
Once again, the side showed several changes from the previous week with Tim Mann making a surprising, but welcoming, return to midfield and Chris Hamilton and young Sam Maile making their first-team debuts.
Bury got off to a dream start when, after only four minutes, Casey Stone touched down in the corner. Charlie Pask’s fine kick in behind the Combe defence was hacked on by Stone and he was first to touch the ball down as it crossed the whitewash.
Martin’s touchline conversion put Bury 7-0 to the good before a penalty apiece made it 10-3 after 26 minutes.
Maile was having a fine debut and his lineout throwing was giving Bury the chance to create some real platforms.
The scrum was less stable, but Matt Edison’s fine work at number eight again meant the ball was produced for scrum-half Cody Mason to set his backs away in space.
Another penalty by Martin stretched Bury’s lead to 10 points at the interval, but another drifted wide.
The visitors responded by dominating the opening minutes of the second period and a simple penalty reduced the gap to 13-6.
A last-gasp tackle prevented ex-Diss man Hamish Barton from closing the gap even further, but Westcombe Park finally touched down when prop Tim Cananagh emerged from a mass of bodies to claim an unconverted try and reduce the deficit to two points on the hour-mark.
Edison’s powerful run into the 22 helped Bury earn a penalty that Martin scored to make it 16-11, but the score did little to gloss over a worrying trend by the Bury players to over-elaborate and run the ball from deep when it was crying out for pragmatism.
That proved costly when Combe’s only meaningful three-quarter attack generated a try with 10 minutes to go, which was converted to hand the away side the lead for the first time.
There was still two chances for Bury to snatch victory — after Ben Radmall’s good work in the tackle earned Bury a penalty on 75 minutes for a Park player not releasing and a deliberate knock-on with a minute to go was also penalised — but two penalty kicks from Martin sailed wide and Westcombe cleared to secure a narrow win.