Unbeaten finale can help to launch promotion push

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Bury St Edmunds 57

North Walsham 20

BURY St Edmunds’ coach Gavin Hogg has already set his sights on gaining promotion next season after ending the current campaign with a 10th consecutive victory, beating North Walsham 57-20.

Despite the impressive winning form, it could have been a whole lot better for the Haberden outfit.

Barring a 25-point deduction prior to their run, they would have ended the campaign in second place, a point ahead of Colchester, who will instead now be challenging for a place in the National League in the play-offs.

Despite conceding a slight disappointment at finishing in fifth instead of second, Hogg refused to dwell on the situation and instead chose to focus on challenging next season.

“We were absolutely delighted to have kept our winning run going and end the season on a high,” he said.

“That was a goal of us after the points deduction to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season and it is fantastic to have been able to do that.

“I guess there is that slight disappointment that we would have finished second without the deduction, but no-one at this club deals with what-ifs, we took our punishment at the time and continued to perform.

“What it does do is give us that platform to build on next season, the lads are already talking about next season and hopefully this form will carry us on and allow us to pick up from where we left off this campaign.

“We won’t be targeting anything less than promotion next season and we will certainly be pushing forward to achieve that.”

The visitors started with a high intensity and opened the scoring with a penalty after five minutes.

However, the hosts responded and added two tries through Kenny Eggars and Ricky Jones, both converted, before Walsham hit back with two tries of their own, one converted, to regain the lead.

Barry Frost and Jones added further tries for Bury, only for the visitors to again respond with a driving maul creating enough space for Chris Kent to force his way over, reducing the deficit to 28-20 in Bury’s favour at the break.

After the interval, the home side came out with a renewed impetus and set about putting the result beyond doubt as a tiring Walsham were seized upon.

Martin added further points from a penalty before youngster Harry Gooderham got in on the act, scoring out wide. Eggars was able to rumble over after good work by the forwards and Martin’s kick made it 43-20.

The dominance continued as Jones crashed over to complete his hat-trick, followed by Tim Mann, stealing the ball in his own 22 and racing 75 metres downfield for Bury’s eighth and final try to sign of the season in winning fashion and condemn their visitors to relegation.