LONDON LEAGUE TWO SOUTH: Bury St Edmunds 17 Redingensians 37
A high penalty count proved costly for Bury St Edmunds at The Greene King IPA Haberden this afternoon a 20-point defeat to Redingensians stretched their losing streak to four consecutive matches.
The Wolfpack got sucked further into the bottom half of the table as a frustrating day for the home crowd, not offset by a try in each half from the fit again Sam Sterling, saw their side drop two places to 11th in National League Two South.
More worryingly, results elsewhere leave Gavin Hogg’s side just a point above the bottom three and five off the bottom two, ahead of making the long trip to the occupier of that 15th spot, Exmouth, next Saturday.
Second row has been Bury’s problem position this season and after on-loan Ben Turner’s debut at lock in their last home game, as well as Louis Whetton’s capture — who was making his club debut with The Wolfhounds on his return from injury — a third specialist, Matthew Hall, had been brought in and made his debut from the start in the number five shirt.
The Welshman, who has experience at Wales Championship level, had been playing his rugby in Perth, Australia, ahead of signing a two-season contract at Bury.
Like Sterling, Scottish 7s number 8 Darren Gillespie also made his return to the side from injury.
After last weekend’s 45-14 defeat at league leaders Chinnor, Bury were looking to stop the rot with a positive response back on home soil.
But they were 7-0 behind within five minutes when a decision to kick for position from a penalty paid off for the visitors as a strong catch-and-drive ended with Robbie Stapley getting the ball over the line. Michael Chandler started an afternoon of perfect kicking with the extras.
Within three minutes the hosts were back on level terms as swift line speed saw Jacob Bodkin’s pass release Sterling to make up the final 10 metres on the right-hand side. With no wind to contend with on a glorious autumn afternoon, Liam McBride put his conversion over from a tricky angle.
With just 13 minutes on the clock the home crowd were full of optimism after club captain Chris Snelling grounded to put his side ahead from a lovely looping pass from McBride after a move which had begun with full-back Chris Lord breaking through to roars from his own half. McBride was just the wrong side of the posts with his conversion attempt this time.
The lead was to only last eight minutes though as the action-packed start to the match continued with Ben Henderson finishing off another fine catch-and-drive routine in the sixth phase for the visitors, with Chandler’s conversion making it 14-12.
A successful penalty from 40 metres out by Chandler stretched The Rams’ advantage before there were ironic cheers ringing out as Bury were awarded their first penalty of the day 30 minutes in.
It was a theme that was to continue as the home crowd got increasingly frustrated with their side being persistently penalised at the set piece as well as in open play.
A promising Bury move ended as Alex Rayment dropped the ball under pressure before The Rams breezed through a hole in the hosts’ backline with Conor Corrigan dotting down under the posts, Chandler’s kick making it 24-12.
Just before the interval Bury managed to make another promising overlap at the other end but this time McBride’s handling let them down.
A forward pass by Bodkin saw a storming attack at the start of the second period killed, before Chandler took the opportunity to increase the Berkshire side’s lead with a penalty from 25 metres out as Bury were penalised at a tackle.
Bury hit back four minutes later though as Sterling burst onto a kick to halfway to run in his second try of the day to bring the score to 27-17, McBride being unable to add the extras.
The hour mark saw The Wolfpack reduced to 14 with Turner shown a yellow card for playing the ball off his feet. Chandler’s penalty dished out further punishment.
Bury, who had been a distinct second best up front, completed the changes which saw their entire pack changed from the one which had started but they were still unable to get on top of a disciplined and well-drilled Redingensians set piece.
It was another display of their forward’s power which saw them bring up the bonus point with the final score of the afternoon eight minutes from time.
A maul was able to quickly gain momentum to advance in Bury’s 22 and Daniel Barnes was able to give the hosts’ defence the slip by spinning off the back unchallenged to run through. Full-back Jacob Atkins completed a miserable afternoon for the home side by kicking the conversion over for 37-17.
The final whistle spelled the first back-to-back home defeats for Hogg’s charges since January.
BURY: 1 Palmer, 2 Collins (c), 3 Bingham, 4 Edison, 5 Hall, 6 Rayment, 7 Stapleton, 8 Gillespie, 9 Addison, 10 McBride, 11 Snelling, 12 Rock, 13 Sterling, 14 Bodkin, 15 Lord. Replacements: Griffiths, Trinder, Enoka, Turner, Affleck.
Bury Coaches’ Man of The Match: Alex Rayment.
* For a post-match video interview with Bury captain Dan Collins, log back onto this website from 1pm on Monday, with further reaction and a preview to the weekend in Friday’s Bury Free Press print edition.