Bury given a painful reminder about life in National League
Old Albanians 46
Bury St Edmunds 11
A much-changed Bury St Edmunds side were given a painful lesson about life in National League Two when you are not at your best.
They came up against an Old Albanians side determined to bounce straight back to National One.
An early Bury penalty from Oliver Snook gave them hope but the hosts had shown their attacking intent almost from the off.
Fly-half Max Mallins orchestrated several attacking moves and outside centre Jimmy Spiers proving a real handful for the stretched Bury defence.
The midpoint of the half saw Old Albanians take the lead after a pacy attack.
Snook did get Bury briefly ahead again, as he landed a well-struck penalty from long range, but 6-5 after 24 minutes was as good as it got for Bury.
This time last season, Old Albanians were plying their trade in National One whilst Bury were two leagues lower.
Having managed to retain pretty much of all the squad that came down, the gulf in quality between the sides was evident on occasions.
In attack, the home side played with power and precision and in defence their speed off the line, in particular in midfield, stifled any potential Bury attacks.
Bury didn’t help their cause by some aimless kicks and lateral running.
Having taken the lead courtesy of a well-worked cross field kick, the hosts extended their advantage just before the break.
Bury man-of-the-match Beau Gibson managed to turn the ball over in his own 22 to halt another dangerous attack but, shortly after, a converted try put the hosts 19-6 up going into the break.
Apart from a couple of promising half breaks by Matt Hema, Bury had rarely threatened a well-organised home defence.
Clement Le Roy, Shaq Meyers and Sean Stapleton all came on for the second half but failed to make any difference.
It remained pretty much one-way traffic for much of the second half.
The hosts seized on every mistake by Bury and two converted scores in the first 10 minutes effectively ended the game as a contest.
To their credit, Bury persevered and fly-half Will Affleck made a superb break and perhaps might have backed himself to go all the way. Instead he found Meyers in support, but he failed to make the line.
Scrum-half Le Roy caught the home side napping as he scampered down the blind side for a deserved score but Brad Cook could not make the conversion.
That was it as far as the scoring went for Bury, who will need to bounce back when they host Canterbury at The Haberden tomorrow.