Bury St Edmunds 25
Beau Gibson revealed it was the player’s determination not to become the ‘nearly men’ again that saw them grind out a home win after a slow start.
After finding themselves a try and a penalty down at 11-3 shortly after the restart, it was hooker Gibson who helped make the breakthrough with two five-point scores in quick succession.
But it was only after an error-strewn first half at the breakdown that Bury were able to find another gear to open up Worthing as the second half progressed to secure a bonus point victory that saw them move up two places to 10th in the table, ahead of tomorrow’s game at second-place Clifton (3pm).
After Gibson’s double, wingers Sam Goatley and Chris Snelling added the other finishing touches to seal back-to-back wins at the Greene King IPA Haberden.
“We are all winners here and we were talking in the week that we don’t want to have to keep giving excuses about how we’ve done well but not won,” said 25-year-old Gibson, now in his fourth season at Bury. “We just managed to build the pressure in the second half and came away with the victory.”
Speaking about his eye-catching second try, which saw Bury slice through the Worthing defence to devastating effect for the first time in a dull game, up until that point, he said: “It started off with the quick ball from the right and I just picked my line running and had good support from Eddy (Matt Eddison) and just went over in the corner, so it was a team effort.”
Worthing travelled from Sussex on the back of consecutive defeats but three places above Bury (9th) after six games.
With both sides’ default gameplan to use the strength in their backs and play the ball out wide, a free-flowing high-scoring contest was anticipated.
But the first half was anything but, as the match became a war of attrition in the breakdown with the hosts clearly frustrated at their inability to prevent referee David Clarkson from repeatedly penalising them.
As the quarter-of-an-hour came up, centre Tim Mann, who had passed a late fitness test, set up Bury’s first kick at goal after making a great interception and his subsequent run, which lacked the pace to finish, was halted illegally from an offside position. It was an easy kick for Lord, who put Bury 3-0 ahead.
Despite this it was the Suffolk side who were guilty of conceding too many penalties after looking a distinct second best at the set piece, with Sean O’Hagan putting his first sight of goal wide before levelling on the scoreboard with his second straight long-range effort on the half hour.
There was little of note happening until the stroke of half-time when O’Hagan was presented with another opportunity to kick at the posts, and he landed it to send his side in with a 6-3 lead in what was a forgettable half for the home crowd.
The second period continued in much the same turgid vein, but Worthing’s pack got the upper hand to extend their lead to 13-3 with their forwards profiting from a 5m scrum in the right-hand corner, with number eight Liam Perkins going over for an unconverted score.
With the crowd sensing Bury were not going to get their act together, Snelling landed a massive tackle inside Worthing’s 22 which had the effect of galvanising the hosts while also stirring the home support.
Worthing brought on two replacements in their front row which seemed to give Bury an opportunity to redress their inferior position in the scrum.
A key point in the match then occurred when Lord opted to kick to touch from a kickable penalty 15 minutes after the restart that would have taken the hosts to within a score of their opponents.
They immediately got another chance to profit from a penalty moments later, and again opted to kick to touch, with the decision soon justified when New Zealander Gibson dived over for a pushover uncoverted try, with Lord’s scuffed effort leaving them trailing 11-8.
It only took another five minutes for a revitalised Bury to get themselves back into the lead with number eight Matt Edison spotting an opportunity to run through a gap before offloading to Gibson to finish, though Lord’s conversion again faltered.
Worthing’s hopes of overturning the deficit were dealt a big blow when Sam Hewick was sin binned for the rest of the match as he held up Bury 5m short, from which Goatley finished in the fifth phase from the resultant penalty scrum, after it had to be reset three times.
Chris Snelling turned on his afterburners in the final minute to treat the crowd one last time, with substitute David Graham’s second kick working out, while young Luke Palmer, an ex-St Joseph’s College pupil came on for his debut.