Bury St Edmunds see off former boss Gavin Hogg's Old Albanians to claim first National League Two South success of the season
Bury St Edmunds picked up their first win of the new National League Two South season with a 39-27 win away at Old Albanians on Saturday.
After a sobering opening match against Henley, the Wolfpack travelled to Old Albanians, reacquainting themselves with former Bury coach Gavin Hogg, now the head coach of the home side, hoping for an improved performance and came away worthy winners following a technically excellent and very often mesmeric performance.
Old Albanians were the first team to score first after 12 minutes when they attacked wide and their fullback benefited from a two-on-one to score under the posts, the conversion being successful and at 13 minutes into the match, the hosts were 7-0 up.
At the restart, the Old Albanians number 13 was adjudged to have tackled a Bury player without the ball and Cam Ritchie converted the resulting penalty.
A break by the Bury forwards through the middle resulted in Old Albanians being offside and Ritchie kicked the penalty making the score 7-6 to the home side after 18 minutes.
A period of play between both teams' 22m lines ensued until Bury centre Mark Kohler was pinged for going off his feet, the Old Abanians number 10 converting.
At 30 minutes on the clock, with the score at 10-6 to Old Albanians, they attempted an attack down the left side which came to nothing as their player was shepherded into touch by the Bury backs.
From the line out, captain Ollie Watson, who was very influential throughout the match, thundered up the middle of the pitch, passed to the Bury back line and the ball eventually found Bury second row Will Scholes who went over in the corner. A beautifully worked try which was converted from way out wide by Ritchie.
Old Albanians then kicked a penalty into the Bury corner and retained possession, eventually releasing full back Alex Noot to score in the corner with Dan West converting.
Soon after the restart, the Bury backs attacked on their right flank with Kohler executing a beautifully judged kick over the Old Albanians defensive line which was collected by Ben Leng who then passed back inside to Kohler who rocketed to the Old Albanians line, scoring under the posts. The Bury centre converted his own try and at the end of the first half, the teams ran off with the score 17-20 to the visitors.
With three minutes of the second half played, Bury were penalised when Sam Bixby played a home player without the ball and the St Albans side duly scored after quick ball released hooker Jamie Townsend who dived spectacularly under the posts. The try was converted, the score now being 24-20 to Old Albanians.
At the 50 minute mark, with Ritchie back on the field after serving his sentence, he collected a kick from Old Albanians who were making no progress against the well drilled Bury defence. This freed up Kohler who returned the try scoring pass favour to Leng who scored unopposed. The conversion by Ritchie was good and the score was 27-24 to Bury.
Old Albanians levelled the scores from a penalty after Bury had been penalised for offside. Bury retook the lead at 62 minutes when Jaid Wiltshire intercepted an Old Albanians pass on half way and sprinted clear to score in the corner.
At 67 minutes, the Bury side earned a penalty after destroying their opposition’s scrum and Ritchie kicked to the Old Albanians 10 metre line.
The Bury St Edmunds line out was good and concerted pressure resulted in a penalty for offside against the home team.
Bury opted for a scrum rather than the more orthodox kick to the corner and catch and drive. This bold decision paid off as Bury camped on the Old Albanians try line, sucking in defenders with ferocious but controlled attacks.
Eventually the ball came left to Kohler who scored Bury’s fifth try with Ritchie, who was having a fine day with boot, converting, the score now being 27-39.