Bury St Edmunds’ players will run out at The Greene King IPA Haberden tomorrow with renewed confidence, having left leaders Taunton with huge pride at a display which threatened to halt their perfect run.
Director of rugby Gavin Hogg was delighted with a second half performance in the West Country which seems to have thrown off any remaining doubts his side can mix it with the best at their new higher level.
Ahead of last season’s fifth-placed side Worthing visiting tomorrow (3pm), as Bury look to register back-to-back wins on Suffolk soil, he said: “We had a team meeting at our hotel before we left and we said that ‘not many people outside of these four walls would give us much of a chance’. But our performance, particularly in the second period, has given us added belief that we are more than good enough to be competitive at this level.
“We just need to make sure we start coming out of these close games with some wins, which we can hopefully start doing over the next few weeks.”
Of Bury’s four defeats from their opening six games since promotion, leaving them 12th in the table but only two points adrift of ninth-placed Worthing, they have been within a converted try for a losing bonus point on two occasions now.
And Hogg believes a quicker start from his side on Saturday could have seen a different outcome in Somerset.
“There were a key couple of moments in the game which made it tougher for us than it should have been,” he said.
“We had a slow start and were a few scores down in the first 10 minutes and credit to the guys for clawing themselves back into it, but then we conceded a breakaway interval try.”
He added: “But credit to the boys for digging deep in the second half, and if we had another couple of minutes on the clock we could have gone on and stole all five points.”
‘Game management’ has been the buzz phrase down at training this week as Hogg and his coaches have been working on not repeating mistakes that have seen them drop points against Redruth and now Taunton.
And although Sussex side Worthing travel to Suffolk on the back of two defeats, Hogg says they will need to be on their toes from the first whistle.
Bury have been dealt a blow ahead of kick-off though with openside flanker Ollie Watson having sustained a sprained ankle in training which is likely to sideline him for six weeks.
But he hopes the strength in depth after 23 summer signings were brought in will come to the fore with Brad Cook and John Hall also unavailable and centre Tim Mann (hip) tough and go.
n A company trailing thermal injury technology to diagnose injuries during games, which allowed Cook to rejoin play after a suspected concussion was ruled out against Canterbury, will be used again tomorrow and for the club’s remaining home games.
They are also set to have their drone, which attracted a lot of crowd interest two weeks ago, above play again as part of recording the progress of the trial for a promotional video to pitch to the RFU.
n Bury’s plans for a new 20m by 10m Fitness Development Centre for their players, including the youth section — as revealed in the Free Press at the end of last season — are starting to take shape next to the clubhouse. After local sponsors PWP, Emmitt Plant, BTS, PDR Plant and SBH helped to secure the funding alongside funds raised via the Club’s 2014 Memorial Cycle Ride, planning consent has been granted and work has started on clearing the ground. It is hoped it will be completed by Christmas.