Bury St Edmunds 33
Bury made it three wins in a row on Saturday but once again they put their supporters through the mill with yet another nervy ending.
The marauders from north Devon pushed Bury all the way, and certainly played their part in a thrilling game.
An early series of penalties, a trait that was to haunt Bury for most of the first half, allowed Barnstaple to move into kicking range, and scrum-half Jordan Petherbridge nudged the Chiefs ahead.
However, the hosts were quick to respond. A turnover in midfield was quickly spread wide and Ross Bailey held the ball up well in the tackle to give just enough space for Chris Snelling to squeeze over in the corner.
The big, physical visitors were causing Bury problems and as their discipline let them down again, the Wolfpack were soon defending in their own 22.
Another two penalties followed and, conscious that his side had an advantage, player-coach Steve Perry dinked the ball over the Bury defence for his centre Ryan Carter to run on to and dot down by the posts.
Bury quickly got back on terms with their second score, as scrum-half Pierre Peres jumped over the top of a ruck to get the ball over the line.
The score seemed to galvanise Bury, who scored from a penalty, before a scintillating move involving several players ended with Peres arcing for the line before slipping a reverse pass to Chris Lord to storm over.
Scott Lyle exchanged penalties with the visitors as it looked like Bury would be heading to the changing rooms leading 22-13.
However, Bury’s penalty count continued to cost them dear. Barnstaple opted for a series of scrums close to the Bury try line, before referee Robbie Burke lost patience with a wheeling scrum and awarded a penalty try.
The hosts were forced into a change for the second half as a reoccurrence of Peres’ ankle injury saw Bailey move into the scrum-half, and Shaq Meyers on in midfield.
The half got off to a dramatic start with a deep kick fumbled and Bury swept onto the attack. A series of plays culminated in the Wolfpack being awarded a scrum just outside the 22, and a tremendous drive generated a simple penalty for Lyle to bisect the posts.
Buoyed by the early score, Lord scored his second try to give Bury a healthy 10-point lead. Barnstaple were not prepared to roll over though, and their large imposing pack tried their utmost to assert their authority, but a determined Bury pack refused to yield.
The visitors scored a try to cut the gap to three, before Lyle converted a penalty in the closing minutes to give Bury a little breathing space.
n Eighth-placed Bury travel to the side directly below them — Cinderford — tomorrow (2.30pm).