Bury St Edmunds 8
For the second time in a fortnight, Bury made the long trip to the West Country, but unlike the stirring display at Taunton, they returned with little credit this time around.
Cllifton, one of the oldest clubs in the RFU and with strong links to Championship side Bristol, were a well-drilled, organised side, but were given an easy ride by a Bury side that made too many errors.
As the Suffolk side have discovered already to their cost, make a mistake at this level and you are punished.
After an encouraging win last time out, coach Gavin Hogg took the chance to rotate his squad and try out some different combinations.
David Graham and Marshall came in at the half-back positions, Andrews replaced Chris Lord on the wing and a debut was handed to Dave Micklethwaite on the flank.
The visitors made a bright start with Ben Davey and Sam Goatley made good ground to put Matt Hema into space, whilst Chris Snelling’s fine break faltered as the final pass went astray.
These two good chances were not taken and shortly after the hosts opened the scoring from a simple penalty.
Bury had their chances to restore the deficit but too often they kicked away possession, handing back the initiative to the hosts.
A home try was almost followed by a second, which was ruled out for an infringement.
A penalty from Graham saw Bury get back into the game, only for Bury to hand the initative back to the hosts.
The home side had done their home work on the Bury three-quarters, getting off the line quickly and suffocating any potential promising attacks.
A converted try gave Clifton a 17-3 lead at the break.
Frustrated director of rugby Hogg rang the changes at the interval with Shaq Meyers, Cronan Gleeson and Clement Le Roy entering the fray.
However Bury’s inability to deal with the kick-off came back to haunt them.
A lost lineout followed by not releasing in the tackle allowed a rampant home outfit to extend the lead within two minutes of the restart through a penalty.
Via their dominant scrum, Clifton cleared their lines and when Sean Stapleton was adjudged to have not released in the tackle, the hosts made it 23-3.
Bury continued to plug away at the home line and Meyers forced his way over for Bury’s only try of the match but Cliftton added another try of their own to complete a one-sided win.
Bury now have a break from league action until November 7, when they return in an away trip to North Manchester (2.15pm).