Kodie Drury Hawkins' kick fails as Bury St Edmunds fall to second home defeat as Barnes hang on in 10-try thriller to end their Haberden hoodoo
A below-par Bury St Edmunds slipped to a 36-34 defeat as Barnes finally broke their Haberden hoodoo with their first win in seven visits, writes Simon Lord.
The visitors, on the back of a determined performance, did just enough to take the spoils in this 10-try thriller in National League 2 South on Saturday and stop Bury's winning run at three games.
In a game where the lead exchanged five times, Barnes survived a last-gasp try from Bury.
Had Kodie Drury Hawkins' touchline conversion gone over the game would have ended a draw. But as the kick fell agonisingly short the Londoners could finally celebrate.
The hosting Wolfpack had burst out the blocks opening the scoring after just five minutes, Ciaran Leeson doing well to hold onto a speculative pass creating the space for Hawkins to round off a flowing move.
Perhaps the score came too quickly as Bury fell into a malaise that Barnes exploited.
They had done their homework, avoiding the set piece where possible, looking really lively with ball in hand and targeting the breakdown.
Hawkins and Josh Hammett both landed penalties, but Matt Steele’s converted try sent the visitors into the break leading 10-8.
It had been a fast and loose first half which suited Barnes, despite the loss of their skipper and loosehead prop George Hunter. Bury needed to up their intensity and accuracy.
They started well and again opened the scoring within four minutes.
Midfield turnover pushed Bury deep into the Barnes half. A try beckoned but the ball was knocked forward by a Barnes defender. No penalty but a scrum, from which the ball was taken up by Greg White and then on to Ben Leng to crash over.
Hawkins converted and Bury were back in the lead, just as the script was supposed to be.
However, it was Barnes that dominated the next 20 minutes. Despite being under pressure in the set piece Steele and in particular Greg Davies pushed his side on. So many passes were made at pace on the gainline and Bury struggled to hold on.
Steele’s pace off the back of a scrum and then a deft off load by flanker Harvey created the space for James Adams to score out wide. Hammett’s conversion came back off the post so the sides were level at 15 points a-piece.
Before Bury could take stock Barnes scored twice more in quick succession.
Benefitting from Bury mistakes, Barnes kicked a penalty to the corner to bundle Cam Ruddock over.
Bury looked flat, quiet, confused whilst Barnes had their tails up.
Scrum-half Davies was pulling the strings and it was no surprise when a series of attacks opened up the Bury defence for Harry Salisbury to canter over. Hammett’s kick made it 29-15 to the visitors.
There were 20 minutes still to play but Bury needed to step things up dramatically if they were get back into the game.
Leeson’s stepping run lifted the crowd, but the Barnes defence was energised and determined.
A Dan Walshe fumble prevented a score but the resulting scrum was destroyed by the The Wolfpack, giving Bury the ball against the head. Leng raced onto the ball chipped through and with the benefit of a kind bounce managed to touch the ball down.
Game back on! Straight from the re-start Bury got back on the attack.
Walshe made a storming break only to be halted by a high tackle. The advantage could not be converted so Bury back for the penalty in the Barnes 22.
With Barnes having lost another front-row player to injury, and therefore unable to contest scrums, Bury opted for a lineout. The catch was good, the drive moved in field and skipper Tom Milosevic powered over by the posts for 29-29 with 10 minutes to go, and surely the momentum now with Bury.
Barnes did not quite see it that way and going to uncontested scrums suited the visitors.
Quick clean ball allowed another midfield break despite suspicion of obstruction. A clash of heads halted the play but Davies, who had been a thorn in Bury’s side all day, burrowed his way over by the posts on 75 minutes from the resulting scrum.
Bury had one last chance to salvage something! Milosevic’s break caused panic and theball was thrown right to be rounded off by Walshe in the last minute of the game.
Crucially it was out by the corner flag. Hawkins, for once could not convert and Bury were left to rue a haphazard display that yielded just two bonus points.
* Bury remain seventh in the National League 2 South table but have drifted from six to nine points off fifth place, though head coach Wakley has said they are not mentioning the possibility of a club-record finish.
The Wolfpack travel to 11th-placed Dings Crusarders on Saturday (3pm).
Bury: Tries. Hawkins (5) Leng (44 & 64) Milosevic (69) Walshe (80); Cons: Hawkins 4; Pens: Hawkins
Barnes: Tries Steele (14) Adams (47) Ruddock (54)Salisbury (59) Davies (75); Cons: Hammett 5; Pens: Hammett
Star Man. Josh Davies. Livewire link for the visitors.
Bury: Affleck, Miekle, White, Leng, Leeson, Hawkins, Harvey:
Robinson, Walsh, Cooper, Leo, Browne, Brown, Milosevic, Wilson.
Res. Bursey, Cooper, Gardner, Watson, Du Randt.
Barnes: Hammet, Simmons, Salisbury, Weightman ,Adams, Strang, Davies:
Hunter, March, McArthur, Kalou, Collins, Harbison, Scott, Steele.
Res: Boaden, Seabright, Ruddock, Avis, Ruddock.
* See Friday's Free Press print edition for more rugby
More by this authorRussell Claydon