LONDON ONE NORTH
Bury St Edmunds 73
The Haberden became Bury’s winter wonderland for the afternoon as they reached the National League for the first time in their 88-year history.
Gavin Hogg’s charges produced an 11-try blizzard to freeze out Chingford in conditions more suited to eskimos than rugby players.
Bury are only one of four teams nationally that have won every game this season — their run stretches back 34 games to January 2012 — and Hogg was delighted his team managed to keep their record intact with a 73-point trouncing of their visitors from Essex.
“To finish in that style in these conditions is great testament to the amount of work done behind the scenes and the players who have done their job superbly this season,” he said. “To be able to play some pretty positive rugby in awful conditions shows how far the guys have come — all credit to them.
“We’ll enjoy what we’ve done, but we’ll build again from Tuesday for the last three games.”
It was clear from the off that both sides would take differing approaches to the conditions, with Chingford content to keep their forwards involved close to the ruck, while Bury spread the ball wide quickly, running it from deep with their talented backs.
However, it was the hosts’ forwards who got the breakthrough in the 14th minute when they shoved a scrum over the line and a Chingford infringement was punished with a penalty try.
Full-back Will Martin slotted the first of nine conversions from in front of the posts as the falling snow continued to thicken, forcing the Bury backroom staff — including head coach Hogg — to sweep the lines while play continued.
The snow did not stop Bury putting several flowing moves together and they were rewarded with their second try when Tanimo Samoa handed the ball off to Kenny Eggars, who touched down for the 24th time this season.
Bury finally put some daylight between themselves and Chingford with two scored in the three minutes before half-time while the visitors had a man in the sinbin.
Flanker Rob Blatch was the first to profit before Samoa got the all-important fourth try to ease Bury’s nerves before the break.
Once the game restarted, with Bury having changed to their bright yellow change strip, Chingford continued to keep the ball close to the ruck.
However, once the hosts broke forward and James McLachlan crossed the whitewash on his final appearance for the club, the visitors’ resistance was broken and six further tries added in the last 19 minutes.
Both team captains and the referee had agreed to carry on until the final whistle after Bury’s fifth try, but the Essex side will probably wish they hadn’t after Matt Page got the first of those six.
Eggars created the next for skipper Matt Edison before the latter stormed two-thirds the length of the pitch to make it 52-0.
Aaran Waters, Martin and Brentan Krammer — the latter two created by Eggars — completed the rout to not only put the seal on the London One North title and promotion to the National League, but keep them on track for the perfect season.