No let up for Bury squad
There may be no league fixture this weekend, but Bury St Edmunds’ players have had little let up this week as they prepare to face some of Russia’s top players later today.
Head coach Nick Wakley is not a fan of having another break a week before the final round of matches, so is pleased to have the fixture to keep them ticking over.
And 12-time champions of Russia Krasny Yar are set to provide a good test, having seen off Bury’s equivalent level National League 2 North side Hinckley 46-0 in the opening game of their English tour.
There will also be the added spice of Bury fans getting a chance to see some of their club’s new signings in action for the first time, with this evening’s game (5pm) being free of charge.
“It is a weird set up with the break as we only have one game left,” said Wakley, following his side ending a four-game losing run with a 53-7 win over bottom side London Irish Wild Geese in their last home fixture in National League 2 South.
“What we have looked at in the season is often when they have a week off it can be very disjointed when we come back.
“I was keen to obviously make a relationship with this side that are touring.
“They are going to come here with plenty of experience and muscle. At this time of the year boys are fronting up and wanting contracts and it is also a great idea for us to also see some new signings as well that are going to be in a Bury shirt.
“I think there will be three to four of them.”
Although frustrated at the way his side let the already-confirmed bottom side come back at them in the second half on Saturday, Wakley was pleased to give the home fans something to cheer in their final league fixture at the GK IPA Haberden.
“We have had a month-and-a-half of what-ifs, if-onlys and maybes. We lost three games by seven points in total,” he said.
“It is nice to get the ‘w’ on the scoresheet again.
“We wanted to start with intensity and put them to bed in the first half and we did that.
“We threatened to put a big score up but it was very different in the second half.”
Bury went into the game in ninth place but still with a chance of making up the three-point gap to sixth-placed Clifton to match their best ever finish at Level 4 of the pyramid.
A trio of results ended up going their way, as they comfortably saw off the basement side, bringing up the four-try bonus point within 25 minutes. It means they will head to Henley Hawks a week tomorrow in control of sixth spot.
The Wolpack showed their intent in a flying start with Will Scholes bursting through with less than three minutes in for the first score, converted by Ben Leng, before Mark Kohler’s ninth-minute finish made it 12-0.
There was no let up as Finlay Sharp raced down the right on the counter, leaving Leng a simple conversion.
The impressive Scholes, in his last competitive game at the Haberden, laid the foundations for Alex Grey to bring up the bonus point and a 26-0 scoreline.
But there was still two more tries before the half-time whistle as strong forward play got captain Ollie Watson over the line in the corner before Levi Roper put the afterburners on down the left, both unconverted, for 36-0.
The second half was a scrappy affair with Bury having to do some defensive work to keep their cleansheet intact.
But after Sharp punished Geese on the counter once again for Bury’s seventh in the 63rd minute, the visitors eventually got the score their dogged determination warranted six minutes from time, after a good break from Oliver Turner.
Just two minutes later Bury had their eighth try though, with Aaron Forrest finishing after Jack Johnson’s smart off-load.
“It is a little bit frustrating to have that try go over because I think our defence nullified them for most of it,” reflected Wakley.
“It was a scrappy second half and I thought we could have just had a bit more clarity with what we were trying to do. But I am happy-ish.”
Despite second row Scholes getting the coaches’ man-of-the-match award, he singled out Levi Roper’s display for praise, having recently made his return from a long injury lay-off.
“He is a bit of a rough diamond for us, being 18. He is only a puppy and he is a local lad as well,” he said, also mentioning being pleased with fellow locally-based players’ Johnson and Will Affleck’s performances from the bench.