Bury St Edmunds 21
Another superb second-half performance from Bury almost stole them the win in Berkshire on Saturday after they had once again trailed heavily at half-time.
Despite it being their fifth straight defeat, a losing bonus point was the least the visitors deserved after they turned around an 18–0 deficit to score three converted second-half tries.
The spirit and attitude of the players is first-class, but again they were the architects of their own downfall in the first half.
The Rams dominated the opening quarter with Bury hardly able to escape their own half.
A series of penalties saw Reading camped on the Bury line, but just when it seemed fabulous defence would prevent a score, a juggled pass in midfield allowed centre Jordan Souter to escape and he sent his partner Steve Bryant under the posts.
Bury were certainly not getting the rub of the green with decisions.
Finally, after 21 minutes, Bury made an in-road to the home half, but they were turned over by a committed defence.
Bury were far too guilty of not clearing their lines properly, and when Jaid Wiltshire was caught in possession, the inevitable penalty was duly dispatched by Atkins.
The Rams were 10 to the good and beneficiaries of little Bury errors.
That lead was extended when Bury finally got into a promising attacking position only to see Tom Rock’s floated pass picked off and Connor Corrigan raced 80 metres down field to score an unconverted try in the corner. Atkins did, however, land a penalty just before the break.
The Wolfpack’s new signing, Donovan O Grady, made an immediate impact, upping the visitors’ tempo, and within four minutes Bury had scored.
Maku was on hand to round off good work by Shaq Meyers to power over by the posts.
Two minutes later the 18 point lead was re-established when a poor clearance kick was returned with interest and ended with Jack Rossiter racing onto Atkins’ kick, but for the remainder of the game Bury were in total control.
After Sam Sterling just lost out in the race to his own dink through, Meyers once again weaved his way through, setting off Scott Lyle for what seemed a certain try. But the referee Cooper appeared to be the only person who did not believe he was stopped inches short by a high tackle. Rather than a penalty try and red card, he awarded a scrum to Bury.
Lyle had to be carried off and it took Bury a full 10 minutes of pounding the Rams’ line before Louis Whetton was up in good support of Meyers’ jinking run to touch down. O’Grady landed the extras.
Time and time again Reading conceded penalties in the 22 and yet did not see yellow. Bury were getting frustrated and increasingly desperate, but showing much improved spirit they kept pushing and O’Grady scampered over after taking a quick tap penalty.
The try gave Bury a deserved bonus point, but they had no time left to clinch a dramatic win against a clearly wilting home side.