DIVISION ONE NORTH
Bury St Edmunds 15 Thurrock 15
A SUCCESSFUL penalty kick by Mike Stanley with the last play of the game denied Bury the home win they craved.
Stanley, the former England Under-20s player, was the game’s stand-out performer as his inspired second-half display dragged Thurrock back from a 15-0 half-time deficit.
Up until the break, things had gone well for Bury in a keenly-fought encounter.
Matt Briggs had the chance to open the scoring for Bury with a penalty for midfield offside, but dragged his kick wide. However, he made no mistake eight minutes later when he slotted a regulation kick at goal.
Bury’s three-quarters were looking dangerous attacking from deep and were unlucky not to have engineered a try for Joe Davis, the linesman spotting that centre Kenny Eggars had put a foot in touch before his try-scoring pass.
Thurrock looked to have the bigger set of forwards and tried to power their way through the Bury line.
Ironically, Bury’s opening try came from a series of drives by the Bury pack, with No 8 Warren Kearney forcing his way over from close range. Briggs added the extras for 10-0 to Bury.
Having superbly soaked up some serious pressure on their defence, Bury seized their moment to go further clear when, having swung the ball one way they brought it back the other and winger Joe Flexman rounded off a sweeping move.
Only a superb last-ditch tackle prevented Bury skipper Tony Fox from scoring on the stroke of half-time.
Full-back Barry Frost was a constant thorn in the Thurrock defence and, after going close once from a fine solo break, he was crudely cut down off the ball by his opposite Darryl Worster, denying him a potential try and earning the Thurrock number 15 a spell in the bin.
However, Bury could not convert the resulting penalty and, for much of the remainder of the half, they were forced to defend long periods in their own half.
Having seemingly weathered the storm, Bury let Stanley in for a soft converted try. The fly half was halted initially on the half way line before being released in the tackle allowing him to race through from 45 metres. The conversion was a formality.
Thurrock rumbled their way over for another try following a lineout deep in the Bury 22, but failed to convert, leaving Bury still clear by three points.
The hosts halted two attacks in the final two minutes and player-coach Gavin Hogg kicked for touch thinking time was up.
However, referee Speck deemed there was time for one more play, from which Bury were penalised for handling in the ruck and Stanley sunk the 30-metre penalty for a draw.