Bury St Edmunds 27
‘Wins keep me in a job, so I’m happy, but there’s still a lot of work to do’.
Ollie Smith was not exactly bouncing with joy as he spoke to the Free Press following Saturday’s home victory over Redruth, despite it marking the Wolfpack’s first ever victory over the Cornish side.
The side narrowly lost in a close-fought 12-9 meeting on October 7, in their first of two fixtures in the 2017/18 season.
Smith explained, however, that it will take more than just one good performance to banish the memory of a loss to bottom-placed Wimbledon the week earlier, in a display he blasted as ‘shambolic’.
But Smith conceded the team had done all they could on the day to record a ‘good result against a decent side’, with particular praise for home-grown full-back Chris Lord.
He said the 23-year-old had dictated play from the back, following the game plan set out by management to play for territory rather than possession on a wet and windy day.
“For a player that likes to run, it can’t have been an easy game for him,” Smith said.
“He was absolutely fantastic yet again though and has been all season.
“He made a lot of good decisions, chased kicks well and made great work of keeping Redruth camped in their 22.
“He had a big impact on the game and we will need that sort of performance again next week against Taunton.”
The Wolfpack travel to face Taunton Titans on Saturday (3pm) in an away rematch of their first-half-of-the-season 26-20 loss.
Smith said his message will remain the same to the squad, to ‘remember Wimbledon’ as the motivator to play well.
It is hoped that Dwayne Corcoran, the league’s top try scorer, will be available for Bury after a week out injured.
Fortunately for Smith’s team, Corcoran was not missed in attack on the day, with winger Chris Snelling capturing a brace of tries and scrum-half Jake Ashby the other in a solid first half— all of which were then well converted by captain Liam McBride.
The Wolfpack only missed one kick all day as they significantly improved their kicking tally, with McBride and then Fraser Honey adding a crucial 12 points to the overall score with the boot.
Both teams’ handling skills were particularly impressive in the appalling conditions, with a game largely played from the pack.
Going in at half-time with a comfortable 21-7 lead, Bury looked in danger of being pegged back as Redruth scored a converted try, but a sin binning for the visitors’ Brad Howe ended their resistance as the Wolfpack got back on top.
With the score at 21-14, Redruth were on for a bonus losing point before Honey sweetly struck two penalty kicks — missing a third — to take the score to 27-14.