Bury beaten in home thriller
Bury could not quite grab the win that would have all but secured their National 2 status for next season.
Instead, in a game where the visitors deserved the victory, Bury were grateful for a last minute penalty try to earn two losing bonus points.
The Rams arrived on the back of six straight wins and the healthy 600 plus crowd could see why as they raced into a 14-0 lead.
Number eight Robbie Stapley was a constant thorn in the Bury side, and he set up tries for Drury and Corrigan.
Bury have made a habit of coming back from poor starts, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion.
The Rams were well organised and disciplined in defence and, although Sam Sterling pulled a try back, Chandler had nudged a penalty over in the meantime to make it 17-7 at the interval.
Bury returned to the field eager to try and build off their dominance in the set piece to claw back the deficit.
However, despite trying various avenues of approach, Bury could not break down the visitors and then were caught with a classic counter attack with saw Stapley race over to extend the lead to 24-7.
Peres did cajole his side into lifting the tempo of attacks and, after a period of sustained pressure, Mark Kidson cut a good angle to get Bury's second score.
However the Rams kept the Wolves at bay, quickly scoring themselves to keep Bury at arms length.
Bury had struggled all game to match the intensity and physicality of the opposition, but in the final quarter the Wolfpack finally stirred.
Storming runs by Stapleton and Bixby set up an attacking scrum from which fly half Will Affleck ghosted over to bring the gap down to 10 points.
The clock ticked down and Bury pressed and pressed.
Reding defended heroically and it looked like Bury's efforts would be in vain but with almost the last play of the game, the Bury forwards drove their rivals off the ball and were awarded a penalty try.
The score meant Bury would glean two points from an enjoyable match.
Director of Rugby Gavin Hogg praised his under-strength Bury side for the determined fighting spirit they displayed in the the narrow defeat, admitting he was particularly pleased with the side’s refusal to give up until the death, which reaped its own rewards.
“It felt as if every time we had an opportunity to to get back in the game they went down the other end and scored.
“We were always chasing the game from quite early on.
“But the massive positive was that with 10 minutes to go we were 31-14 down and looking to get nothing out of the game.
“But we scored two late tries to get two bonus points.”
That late surge means that Bury now travel to second-bottom Southend on Saturday knowing that victory and a bonus point will secure their league status for next season (KO 3pm).
Hog is warning his side not to take anything for granted against a team fighting for their lives following just one win in their past five contests.
“They came up to us before Christmas and beat us on our home patch,” he added.
“They’re a very abrasive side.
“They’re one of the most difficult sides to play in this division and they’ve got a lot of experience, especially in the forwards.
“We don’t want to become involved in a scrappy game.
“We’ll need to make the most of our pace.”
Despite that 16-23 defeat to Southend last year, Hogg believes his side have come a long way since that result.
“Certainly at that stage pre-Christmas was part of alearning curve for us,” the head coach continued.
“Part of our problem was that the conditions didn’t allow us to play our expansive game as we wanted to.
“We were forced to play more of a tight kicking game which didn’t suit us.
“But now the conditions are improving and the pitches are making it a bit easier for us to play to our strengths.
“We sat down at Christmas for a mid-season meeting and knew the second half of the season would be about making sure we stayed in the league and moved up the table.
Hogg also gave the thumbs up to Bury youngster Alex Rayment, who was named in the England under 18s squad for the 5 Nations Festival in Wales.
Discussing the Royal Hospital School pupil, he added: “It’s recognition of the hard individual work he has done himself.
“I’ve known him since he was around the under 14s, and he’s always been determined to make it at the top level of the game.
It’s fantastic for him to gain international honours on the back of a full time academy contract with the Northampton Saints.
“It’s also a credit to the work of his school and his club coaches. “He has a promising future.”