Bury St Edmunds 39
Bury St Edmunds scored five tries as they returned to winning ways — but a disappointing last quarter left Ollie Smith revealing that some of the players will be moved on at the end of the season.
The Wolfpack’s head coach had left his side in no doubt ahead of the match that they were playing for their futures with a reaction expected after a lacklustre display in defeat at second-from-bottom Old Redcliffians (24-14) last time out.
His displeasure in that display was apparent in the team selection for the visit of the 12th-placed side from Devon, with no less than seven changes made to the starting XV.
But despite expressing he was pleased overall with the response, Smith said some players showed they were not up to staying on for a promotion push next season, with Bury having conceded two tries in the last 10 minutes to see the winning margin reined in.
Asked about the host of changes, he said: “We want the team to keep performing but we also want to give guys chances to prove what they have got, or to prove what they haven’t got.
“You want to give guys a chance to be part of our team, but you learn a lot about guys.
“Just like last week, we learned a few more guys probably need releasing at the end of the year.
“That is the matter of the fact of it. You can’t beat about the bush, but that is where we are.”
He added: “We said we wanted a reaction to our performance last week, which was very disappointing, so we aimed to start well and, in fairness, we did, we were 22-6 up at half-time.
“Unfortunately we dropped off a bit at the end. The game got a bit disjointed but a few guys struggled a bit and we weren’t quite so happy at the end of the game. But a win is a win and that’s what we needed after a defeat last week.”
In front of a big crowd at a bitterly cold Haberden, seventh-placed Bury fell behind to Glyn Park’s fifth minute penalty.
But captain Liam McBride levelled things up five minutes later and once Chris Lord’s first try, running onto his own chip, was grounded three minutes later, the hosts were always comfortably in control on the scoreboard.
Mark Kohler charged down the wing for the next and Dwayne Corcoran stepped inside his man wonderfully to cap a fine move through the backs for a 20-6 lead, with Park landing a long-range penalty in between.
A Frazer Honey penalty on the stroke of half-time gave Bury a 19-point advantage heading into the break.
The second half was only eight minutes old when the Wolfpack had secured their four-try bonus point with Lord putting down his second of the match after a fine team move.
The visitors got their first try on the scoreboard just before the hour mark before Corcoran ran from inside his own half for a 39-13 lead.
The last 10 minuted saw Bury’s foot come off the gas as the visitors scored twice more to pull them back to within two converted tries, before the home side were reduced to 14 men for the last eight after Mark Kohler was adjudged to have intentionally knocked on, a decision he clearly did not agree with.
The end of the match may have been a bit of an anti-climax but it was a return to winning ways for Smith’s side, who showed how they are capable of cutting loose with their five tries coming in the opening hour.
Bury travel to bottom side Wimbledon tomorrow (3pm) with Smith keen to impress on his side they will need to learn their lessons from their last away trip.
“If we don’t go down to Wimbledon and perform it will be the same (as Old Redcliffians). Wimbledon actually went and beat Old Redcliffians away, so we can’t take them lightly,” he said.
“Hopefully we have learnt our lesson and we can continue to put things right.”
Bury: 15 Lord, 14 Corcoran, 13 O’Reilly, 12 Rouse, 11 Kohler, 10 McBride, 9 Ashby, 1 Brown, 2 Bixby, 3 Greco, 4 Scholes, 5 Edison, 6 Comin, 7 Stapleton, 8 Browne. Replacements: Smith, King, Wilson, Honey, Merolle.
Coaches’ Man of The Match: Yasin Browne.
nFormer England international and the Premiership’s all-time leading points scorer, Andy Goode, has been annolunced as the guest speaker at Bury’s annual President’s Dinner on Friday, March 16.
Tickets are £45 a head and can be purchased from Chris Berry by calling 07802 932 604 or emailing email@example.com
n Bury Foxes women’s team followed up last week’s RFU Intermediate Cup last-16 win with a 59-0 whitewash of Chelmsford in National Challenge East One match at The GK IPA Haberden on Sunday.
Georgie Palmer starred with a hat-trick of tries, while Lucy Kerr (2), Stephanie Durrant, Kelly and Danni Lee, the latter kicking seven conversions, accounted for the rest.
The result leaves them a point off top spot with their next fixture being at Southwold Swallows a week on Sunday.