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Bury St Edmunds notch up fourth win in a row with bonus point victory away to bottom-of-the-table Bournemouth

Bury St Edmunds notched up their fourth consecutive win in the National League 2 South with a comfortable victory over basement dwellers Bournemouth, writes Simon Lord.

The visitors picked up a try-scoring bonus point in the 34-21 victory to move to within five points of fifth position in the standing.

But the match – and result – could easily have gone the other way, with a number of key moments falling the right way for the Wolfpack.

Ben Cooper for Bury Rugby as they beat Old Redcliffians 66-22 at home Feb 2020. Picture: Shawn Pearce (31144760)
Ben Cooper for Bury Rugby as they beat Old Redcliffians 66-22 at home Feb 2020. Picture: Shawn Pearce (31144760)

Let's not be too harsh here though, a bonus point win away from home is always something to be cherished, but given the form of the two sides, Bury ought to have won by a much bigger margin.

Coach Nick Wakley had identified Bournemouth's narrowness in defence and, from the off, Bury looked to stretch the hosts at every opportunity.

Having gone close from the opening play of the game, with Ciaran Leeson's pass just bouncing forward to see Kieran Miekle's touchdown not counted, it did not take Bury long to open their account.

Again Bury spread the play wide after stealing a line out before Kodie Hawkins picked out Leeson in space and the left wing stepped his way over for the opening score.

Bury, backed by a healthy support, were brimming with confidence whilst the hosts, almost destined for relegation following this result, looked shell shocked. A gilt edged chance went begging when, with a clear overlap, the final pass was unnecessarily thrown forward and Bury made Bournemouth pay.

A deep kick was chased well, the defence was hounded into conceding a penalty and Bury struck. Harvey took the penalty quickly, the ball found its way to Tom Brown who fixed his man and found Leeson who in turn did the same to send Will Affleck racing in by the corner flag.

All too easy and not long after the quarter of the match mark, Bury scored their third try.

Bury were comfortably soaking up any Bournemouth attacks and invariably winning a turn over in the process. From one such turn over Bury sped away once again. Once again, as Bournemouth were drawn into the middle they were exposed out wide.

Affleck returned the compliment to Leeson throwing out an outrageous long pass the winger did well to gather before speeding home. Hawkin's excellent touchline conversion pushed Bury out to 19 - 0 lead.

Leeson almost made it a hat trick but the final pass to send him way was deemed forward and Bournemouth finally raised themselves to make a fist of things. Bury were penalised for early scrum engagement and the penalty was kicked to 8m. From the resulting line out prop forward Luca Firetto spun off the side of a maul to dive over. Hancox converted well and it raised hopes amongst the home crowd.

That hope was severely doused on the stroke of half time.

The Wolfpack earned a penalty 15m out and elected to take a scrum. A training ground move saw a reverse pass to Affleck who slipped the ball back inside to Greg White who in turn had the supporting Milosevic on his shoulder and the skipper made no mistake. Hawkins kick sent the sides into the break with Bury deservedly leading 24 - 7.

If the match was to continue its pattern, one imagined Bury would rack up a half century of points and the hosts would struggle to add to their tally.

When Bury scored within seconds of the restart it seemed the script was being followed; once again Bury attacked at pace, stretching the Lions. Man of the Match Ciaran Leeson popped up on his opposite wing to cause havoc and almost make it over but scrum half Jack Harvey was alert to dot the ball down from close range.

The expected Cricket score did not however materialise as Bournemouth raised their game and Bury were dragged down into a stop start scrappy second half that left players, supporters and coaches frustrated alike.

Take nothing away from Bournemouth they refused to lie down, as one would expect of a side at Home fighting for survival, but Bury aided and abetted the revival with some sloppy play and needless penalties when not really under pressure.

A series of penalties just after the hour mark resulted in substitute James Griffiths crashing over and with Hancox adding the extras the score board showed an uneasy 29 - 14 for the Wolfpack.

Frustratingly, Bury showed what they could do by scoring almost immediately from the restart. Winning the re start they dragged Bournemouth to the furthest point left on the pitch before switching right to send Mike Stanway over.So simple, so effective, why had they not done that for the previous 20 minutes?

Having re-established a healthy lead, once again Bury allowed Bournemouth back in the game.

Leeson went close again before Bury seemed to switch off and fall foul of the referee.Penalties began to accumulate and Hawkins was the unfortunate recipient of a team yellow as Mr Wookley ran out of patience. A rare sight these days, Bournemouth declined various penalty options to instead take a tap penalty 7m out. It proved a correct decision as Second Row Kenneally crashed over to give his side hope of a bonus point with 2 minutes remaining.

However as they had done before, Bury showed what they could do by immediately going on the offensive and scoring what most people thought was their 7th try.

With the last play of the game, Bury won the ball back, stretched things left before rapidly going right. Stanway received the ball in space and made good ground before seeking out the supporting Tom Brown.

Brown appeared to have won the race to his own chip through to touch down, only for the officials to bring the play back for a Bury penalty. A baffling end to the game which sort of summed up Bury's performance. in that there were periods of real quality but also spells of frustration and mistakes that better sides will punish.

Bury now have a week off to rest tired limbs before they take on table toppers Taunton at The Haberden on Mar 21st.

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