Bury St Edmunds 10
Bury produced a display full of bravery and commitment to push League leaders and title favourites Cambridge all the way in this entertaining festive local derby!
With 300 people sitting down for lunch and almost as many again travelling across from Suffolk, a bumper crowd were treated to an entertaining clash where no quarter was given or asked.
Bury made a dream start, scoring after just 90 seconds.
Cambridge failed to clear their lines from the kick off, Stapleton stampeded up to the line and when the ball went blind from the resulting ruck, scrum-half Adam Marshall linked for Ben Enoka to scamper over.
Lyle’s superb touchline conversion made it 7-0.
Playing into a strong wind they had little other option but to spread the play wide.
In the sixth minute, what looked like a fairly routine backs move suddenly opened up for a three-on-one overlap which James Stokes finished off. (7-5)
Within three minutes Bury extended their lead to five points thanks to a Scott Lyle 50-metre penalty.
The lead didn’t last for long and midway through the half Cambridge were level.
A penalty was kicked close to the line and, although Bury stopped the initial catch and drive, when the ball was taken back blind Hutchinson had enough space to squeeze over in the corner.
The game soon began to open up into an enjoyable spectacle.
Bury were tigerish at the break downs and with Lyle using the wind intelligently to push Cambridge back and almost scored again through Goatley.
Back came the Blood and Sand, countering well and only a fine steal in the tackle by Hema prevented a possible score.
It was punch and counter punch, with Cambridge stretching the visiting defence but then Bury holding their own in the set piece to counter attack themselves.
Lyle missed another 50-metre attempt, but this time it went across the posts, as the side’s went into the breal all-square at 10-10
Bury knew they would have it all to do playing into astrong head wind in the second half.
A five-minute spell by Cambridge, when they scored two tries and Bury’s Will Affleck saw yellow, changed the game.
Bury were guilty of losing the ball in possession as Portsmouth and Griffiths neatly off-loaded to send Tom Jones charging in by the posts.
Cambridge quickly-extended their lead after a series of quickly-taken penalties saw Affleck punished for not releasing in the tackle.
As Bury regrouped and the kick at goal was declined, the ball was passed wide for the grateful Griffiths to slide over.
Now trailing 22-10, Bury refused to cave in.
When Goatley broke free from two would-be tacklers it created the games defining moment.
Sprinting almost 65 metres, it seemed the centre would drag Bury back into the game but an outstanding last-gasp tackle by Stokes, bundled the player into touch a metre short.
Cambridge went back on the attack and, despite some heroic defending from Bury, added a fifth try in the dying seconds through former Bury player Bretag-Norris.