Underdogs tag can help to cause table-topping upset

TOUGH ENCOUNTER: Match action as both sets of players battle for possession of the ball

TOUGH ENCOUNTER: Match action as both sets of players battle for possession of the ball

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LONDON ONE NORTH

Bury St Edmunds 32

Rochford Hundred 22

BURY St Edmunds player-coach Gavin Hogg is confident of causing an upset against table-topping Thurrock tomorrow (2.15pm) after his side kicked off the new year with a 32-22 win over Rochford Hundred at the Haberden.

The club shook off the headache of a 37-15 defeat to Colchester before the three--week festive break to bounce back with victory and with the pressure fully on Thurrock ahead of Bury’s visit, Hogg believes his ‘underdogs’ can shock the form guide and extend their winning run.

“I was delighted to get back from the break and get a five-point win, but there are certainly areas I want to improve before the weekend,” he said.

“This will probably be the first time this season we go into the game as underdogs, but it is nice not to have that pressure.

“We threw away a 15-point lead against them earlier in season to draw so hopefully can get a more positive result.

“We want to be involved at the top end of the table, and I am confident we can go to Thurrock and cause an upset.”

Stand-in captain Martin Webdale showed his class early on, opening the scoring for the hosts by converting a penalty.

Rochford responded and drew level when Bury were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle and Branch converted.

Bury regained the lead through another successful kick from Webdale before Tim Mann raced through to crash over.

Again the visitors fought back and after missing a glorious try-scoring opportunity, Branch added two more penalties to draw them to within two points of the home side with an 11-9 half-time scoreline.

The faultless kicking continued after the restart as Branch added his fourth penalty to gift Rochford the lead for the first time in the match.

However, after a hand in the ruck saw the visitors reduced to 14 men, Bury began to dominant as Mann’s kicked score was added to by Dennis, scampering home after good work by Warren Kearney.

Rochford, now restored to full strength again, hit back with left-wing Ashton sliding over, but with just eight points in it, Bury’s Kearney galloped away to score after Alex Lee wriggled his way out the pack, and laid it off, to give his side some much needed breathing space.

Webdale’s superb touchline conversion made it 32-17 but some-what fittingly the visitors scored the game’s last try, wrapping up a well-contested encounter.