LONDON ONE NORTH
Bury St Edmunds 25 Diss 25
by Russell Claydon at The Haberden
IT WAS eventually honours even in this fiercely-contested derby after what must have been one of the most enthralling matches ever played out between Bury and Diss — the lead changing six times.
Both sides took away well-earned bonus points after they took part in a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse with the lead during a high-scoring second half that saw Bury come from behind late on and almost snatch it at the death.
Kiwi Brenton Krammer kicked wide from a good position early on, but the home side did not have to wait long to get their noses in front.
Following a lineout deep in Diss territory after eight minutes, the Bury pack demonstrated their strength as they drove to the line with Mike Lagudi diving over. Krammer was unable to make a tricky conversion.
Diss replied with their first venture into Bury’s half via a Warren Wilby penalty after Krammer’s costly drop saw him not release the ball quick enough.
The visitors profited from a long kick into the far right-hand corner to relieve the heavy pressure they were withstanding, with Pete Bray diving over, Wilby unable to convert, for an 8-5 lead going into the break.
The second period got off to an eventful start, the sign of things to follow, when Bury’s Tim Mann immediately latched on to a turnover kick from their own half, with Krammer converting for 12-8.
But, just minutes later, the lead swung back in Diss’ favour with Wilby sprinting into space from the base of a ruck 10 metres into Bury’s half, his conversion falling short.
The game had become an intriguing end-to-end contest with the home side replying for a 17-13 lead after a good spell of pressure ended with Barry Frost kicking over the touchline for Joe Flexman to jump on, Diss’ Tom Wishart caught out by the bounce. Krammer was again unable to add the two points.
Back came the visitors though. With just 13 minutes of the second half having been played at this stage, Wilby fed Tom Holt, who jinked one way and dived for the open space inside to go through with Wilby having a simple conversion for 20-17.
The game appeared to be running away from Bury when youngster Tom Wishart ended a fast-flowing Diss break down the right to stretch their advantage by five.
Bury pegged the score back to within three points as the game entered the last six minutes of normal time, coach Gavin Hogg finishing off a quick raid down Diss’ left after a good spell of pressure. Krammer could not marry up distance and length with his kick.
Silence descended over the Haberden for what seemed an eternity as Krammer had the opportunity to level the scores from a penalty on the Diss 22, left of centre, after a needless push was penalised with Wilby on the run. And the Kiwi duly made amends for his earlier mishaps to the delight of the raucous home crowd.
Bury pushed hard for a winning score and Krammer almost provided it when opting to kick at goal from almost on the halfway line after Diss’ Will Farrer was sent to the sin bin. But after the referee played nine tense added minutes, the sides remained inseparable on the scoreboard.