NATIONAL LEAGUE TWO SOUTH
Bury St Edmunds 33
Bury’s inability to close out a game once again cost them dear as a last-gasp try secured victory for the city side.
It was heartbreaking stuff for the visitors, who had recovered from a poor start to dominate the middle section of the match, only to fall at the final hurdle.
Two losing bonus points were scant reward for such endeavours, but come the end of the season may prove crucial.
Canterbury got off to a dream start, scoring two tries in the opening seven minutes when Bury were simply not at the races.
New signing Pierre Peres was making an immediate impact at scrum-half for Bury and his fine break got them on the scoresheet. Darting through a gap and turning on the after burners, he made fully 50 metres before linking with Scott Lyle who kept the ball alive to send skipper Josh Walker cantering over.
Lyle’s successful kick made it 12-7 to the hosts.
Midway through the half, Mat Hema pushed Bury in front.
Tim Mann shrugged off three tackles to take Bury downfield.
The ball was recycled well and a series of intricate passes saw Shaq Meyers slip the ball back inside to Hema for a splendid score.
Lyle, so reliable off the tee, added the extras and Bury were now two points in front.
The old adage is that you are at your most vulnerable just after you have scored and sure enough Bury conceded almost directly from the kick-off as the hosts registered a try from a penalty.
Close to the interval, Lyle’s superb crossfield kick found winger Chris Snelling.
He was held up just inches from the line, but up popped Hema to bundle his way over from the resulting ruck.
Lyle’s fabulous touchline conversion sent Bury into the break 21-17 in front.
Bury began the second period where they had left off in the first.
A fantastic scrummage drove Canterbury off their own ball just outside the 22.
Mark Kidson did superbly to scoop the ball up and feed on to Hema.
The Kiwi fixed the defence before giving Will Affleck just enough space to show his sevens skills.
His dancing feet saw him shimmy over in the corner.
This time, Lyle could not quite land the kick, but he did so three minutes later when Dave Micklethwaite capped a fine first start for Bury with a try.
Lyle was the initial creator after ghosting through a gap before passing inside to Snelling.
Lovely short passes created an attacking ruck and one long miss pass found the young flanker in space and time to power his way over.
Surely Bury could not lose from this position?
But, as in the first half, they conceding a penalty straight from the kick-off and the hosts went over for an unconverted try.
Micklethwaite’s good work looked to have engineered a score but when the ball hit the referee, the move was halted, compounded by Bury being punished for feeding at the scrum.
Kidson and Peres combined well to put Hema away, but the final pass was deemed forward.
Two more tries for Canterbury in the final minutes, one of which was converted, compounded Bury’s misery.
The missed conversion was the final act of the game and agony for Bury.
Two points on the road is probably not a bad return, but to have had five in their clutches and to let it slip in such dramatic fashion was a hammer blow.