DIVISION TWO SOUTH
Bury St Edmunds 24
Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club were left looking over their shoulders after suffering a fourth straight defeat, after going down to a 34-24 loss to Taunton.
Despite another spirited display in which they twice led, Bury could not prevent defeat as their fourth-placed visitors eventually showed their pedigree to overpower the hosts leaving an incensed director of rugby Gavin Hogg refusing to speak to the press after the match.
On a bracingly cold afternoon at the Haberden, Bury got off to a blistering start as they caught their visitors cold with Scott Lyle finishing off a flowing move before converting himself, to give the hosts a 7-0 lead after just four minutes.
That pressure continued in the early stages and Bury soon doubled their lead just three minutes later as a quick break from the impressive Pierre Peres resulted in Lyle again going over. The full back was successful with the extras to leave the home side with a promising 14-0 lead.
However, the visitors responded strongly to the setback and halved the deficit midway through the half as a loose ball from the hands of Matt Edison just metres from the Bury line was seized upon by Jake Caulfield for a simple try. The league’s leading scorer Gary Kingdom stepped up to add the simple conversion.
That pressure continued throughout the half and although Kingdom missed a difficult attempt after half an hour, the score was soon level as replacement Oli Massy-Birch found a gap in Bury’s defensive line to race through and score under the posts. This time Kingdom was successful with his kick to wipe out the hosts advantage.
And with the half all but up, Taunton got themselves ahead for the first time as Kingdom capitalised on a simple penalty to send his side in at the interval with a 17-14 advantage.
That scoreline was extended by another three points through the boot of Kingdom once again five minutes into the second-half before the home side rallied with a period of prolonged pressure which saw a glorious chance spurned following a powerful break from Matt Edison who lacked support at the pivotal moment.
However, the large home contingent were cheering once again as the hosts regained the lead in the 59th minute.
A surging run down the left-hand side saw Tim Mann beat three defenders before offloading to replacement Shaq Meyers to go over the line. Brad Cook stepped up and added a superb conversion from an acute angle to gift his side a 21-20 lead.
But the Wolfpack would not be ahead for long as Taunton showed their pedigree to snatch back the lead just five minutes later.
A prolonged period of pressure resulted in Freddie Fraser’s delightful kicked-pass picking out the on-rushing Jack Claydon to go over on the right corner. Again the reliable Kingdom kicked the extras to see his side six points ahead.
That was reduced to just three with 10 minutes remaining courtesy of a simple penalty from Ben Traynor as Bury looked to set up a grandstand finish.
But Taunton soon regained momentum and although Kingdom missed what looked a simple penalty, the visitors put the result beyond doubt with just two minutes remaining.
An incisive move from right to left, saw Oli Caxton find a gap in the defensive line to swan-dive over the line.It was left to Kingdom to send simple conversion through the posts to wrap up victory.
Bury St Edmunds: Brad Cook, Dan Collins, Nick Bingham, John Hall, Josh Walker, Sean Stapleton, Dave Micklethwaite, Matt Edison, Pierre Peres, Ben Traynor, Matt Hema, Joe Lawson, Tim Mann, Will Affleck, Scott Lyle, Sam Bixby, Jack Hayward, Sean Davis, Ben Davey, Shaq Meyers
Free Press man of the match: Scott Lyle