Bury dig deep to retain three-point advantage at the top
CS Rugby 1863 10
Bury St Edmunds 24
Bury St Edmunds had to dig deep to avoid returning to earth with a bump after the previous week’s memorable win to take them top.
At a struggling Civil Service (CS) Rugby 1863 side the form book expected them to dispatch with ease, Bury laboured for the majority of the encounter at a venue they do not have a particularly good record at.
The game itself started well enough for Bury as they poured forward from the whistle and laid siege to the home side’s try line.
Loma Kivalu’s intercept and driving run took Bury to the line, but a deliberate knock-on from lock Callum Duffield prevented the visitors from scoring and earned the Civil Service man a yellow card.
Three attempts to push the resultant scrum over the line failed thanks to a combination of last-ditch defending and a peculiar decision from the match official, but Kivalu was not to be denied and powered over from five metres for a converted score.
Kivalu appeared to be getting back to his early-season form and a storming 50-metre break engineered the next score for Bury.
The Suffolk side remained patient, going through phase after phase before earning an attacking scrum seven metres out.
This time Bury were not to be denied and Matt Edison gratefully touched down as his fellow forwards drove over the line to earn them a 12-0 advantage at the break.
The second half started pretty much where the first had left off, with Bury doing most of the attacking, but Civil Service capitalising on any mistake to counter where possible.
As the mid-point of the half approached the expectation of a bonus-point win was beginning to look a little distant.
Bury’s attacks were still not firing and they struggled to come to terms with the official’s requirements.
Jesse Rush was unlucky to be penalised for not releasing when not actually being tackled and James Houston gleefully landed the penalty from the halfway line to make it 10-3
Kieran Black was introduced into the fray and he seemed to inspire Bury into raising their tempo for the last 20 minutes of the match.
Greg White, Kivalu and Black combined well to take Bury up to the hosts’ line.
Houston was the third person to be shown a yellow for an offence at the break down and Bury elected to run the penalty, throwing the ball wide left where Sam Bixby had just enough space to squeeze over in the corner.
The crucial bonus point arrived when another great piece of aggressive defence allowed Tim Mann to take Bury to within 15 metres of the line and Bulk Powders man-of-the-match Shaq Meyers had the presence of mind and speed of foot to glide through a gap for a score by the posts.
With only seconds left on the clock, Civil Service were awarded a penalty try, but Bury had done what they had needed to do to remain three points clear of London Irish Wild Geese ahead of a blank weekend.
n Eastern Counties Under-20s have named Bury St Edmunds’ Connor Austin, Sam Bragoli-Jones and Luke Reineman in their squad for their Rugby Football Union National Under-20s Championship quarter-final against Northumberland at Cambridge on Sunday (2pm).
Jack Rae, Callum Hempstead and Alex Palmer have been picked for Eastern Counties Under-17s, who will be playing Yorkshire at the same venue (11.30am).