Snelling keen to shake off ‘surprise packages’ tag

RACING THROUGH: Tim Mann on his way to scoring a try during Bury St Edmunds 49-24 success over Thurrock
RACING THROUGH: Tim Mann on his way to scoring a try during Bury St Edmunds 49-24 success over Thurrock

SSE NATIONAL LEAGUE

THREE LONDON

AND SOUTH EAST

Bury St Edmunds 49

Thurrock 24

Chris Snelling believes no-one should consider Bury St Edmunds a ‘suprise package’ this season after they sealed their second successive win.

The winger was in flying form on Saturday, scoring two tries as Gavin Hogg’s charges overpowered a lacklustre Thurrock outfit at The Haberden.

The victory furthered cemented Bury’s promising transition into the National League with a second win in their first three matches, but Snelling believes no-one should be surprised by their strong start to the campaign.

“It’s only our third game and we’re moving in the right direction so we have to be pleased,” he said.

“I think the first match took us a bit by surprise, we weren’t ready, but we’ve proved since then we can contend in this league and I can really see us pushing on into the top half and maybe even top four.

“That’s what we want to do this year, no-one is expecting us to get promoted again, we just want to hold our own again, show we can compete and build from there.

“I hope no-one considers us a shock or a surprise package because we are here to compete and win games.

“We’ve done that so far and hopefully that will continue.”

A frantic opening to the game saw both sides miss early opportunities to open the scoring with Jake Barrand and the usually-reliable Will Martin both surprisingly missing penalty kicks from good positions.

However, it was not to be long for the first points of the afternoon to be scored as Sam Bixby rode two tackles before ignoring the men over to beat the last man and crash down between the posts. Martin, this time successful with his kick, gave the hosts a 10-0 lead with 10 minutes gone.

Barrand and Martin traded simple penalties before the visitors levelled the scores after 30 minutes as a strong period of pressure resulted in a penalty try being awarded in the corner, Barrand again kicking the extras.

Back came the hosts with their second try as a flowing move saw Charlie Pask and Beau Gibson create the space for Snelling to race through between the posts, giving Martin another simple conversion.

Quick thinking then got Martin among the tries moments before the break, quickly tapping to restart, following a stoppage, to catch the Thurrock backline off-guard and race through from close range.

The successful conversion sent Bury in at the break 22-10 ahead.

The hosts started the second period just as they had finished the first, with two quickfire tries.

First a strong period of pressure in the right corner brought an unconverted try for Gibson before Tim Mann bustled his way through the crowd to score, this time Martin adding the extras to see Hogg’s side hold a strong 34-10 advantage.

The flurry of tries continued, in what was became an end-to-end encounter as Thurrock reduced the deficit through James Flavin’s unconverted try after 55 minutes, only for another quick move from left to right to result in Martin feeding the overlapping Snelling to slide over for his second try minutes later.

Sam Bixby took the score to 44-17 in the 71st minute collecting a perfectly-weighted pass from captain Matt Edison to race through the static Thurrock pack. Martin narrowly missed the conversion.

Despite their advantage, Bury refused to rest on their laurels and added their final unconverted try just a minute later as another flowing move from left to right resulted in Dan Garrod scoring in the corner.

Ill-discipline saw Bury reduced to 13 men in the 72nd minute as Bixby and Edison were shown yellow cards.

Although it would have no bearing on the result, Bury were punished for their numerical disadvantage as the visitors bundled their way over the line, Barrand with the final act of the match, wrapping up another promising afternoon for Bury.