Bury St Edmunds cruise to victory against Old Redcliffians at the GK IPA Haberden in National League 2 South
Flanker Alex Grey felt his side's high work-rate was the secret to their success as Bury St Edmunds recorded their biggest margin of victory of the season at the GK IPA Haberden this afternoon.
The 57-7 scoreline against Bristol-based Old Redcliffians eclipsed the 44-point margin record against Guernsey in the 70-26 home demolition under former head coach Jon Curry back in September, and see The Wolfpack move back into the top six in National League 2 South.
Another big home crowd had gone into the fixture buoyed by the Free Press' exclusive that popular Welsh coach Nick Wakley is looking to commit his future to the club beyond this season.
Bury, who started the day 7th in the table after back-to-back defeats against top five sides Rams and Tonbridge Juddians, made a great start with a 17-0 lead by the 17th minute on a cold but still day.
An early Jack Johnson penalty was added to by Grey diving over from close range in the 13th minute after the Wolfpack put together 12 phases after stealing their opponents' lineout ball for the first of their three converted tries, all via the steady boot of Johnson, before the interval.
The impressive Grey put the wheels in motion for the second try five minutes later with a solo break which eventually led to Sam Bixby running in under the posts after the ball was quickly put through Ben Leng and Jacob Bodkin's hands.
Old Reds got on the scoreboard in the 22nd minute after Bury switched off at a lineout, following Mark Kohler doing well to take his man into touch, with second row Corey Talbot finding an easy passage over the line, before Kieran Hill added the conversion.
The hosts were dominating all areas of the pitch though and it was no surprise when they got their third try just before half-time for a 24-7 lead. Kohler did well to stay on his feet to pick up a Cam Ritchie low kick with Johnson providing a great kick for the extra two from an angle on the left.
Things only got better in the second half for Bury as they put up 33 unanswered points on the scoreboard in clinicalal display that was at total odds with their failings in defeat at Tonbridge the previous weekend.
Some great passing following a lineout opened the way for Mark Kohler, who was having a good game in the number 15 shirt, to run in seven minutes after the re-start to guarantee the bonus point before the same player set up Connor O'Reilly within four minutes for the next converted try.
A great team try in the 56th minute saw Kohler add the finishing touch after good work from the forwards in the maul with Johnson's conversion stretching Bury's lead to 45-7.
Leng, back from injury in the centres, was next to go over the whitewash, but after the referee conversed with his assistant it was ruled out for a knock on.
As a highly-watchable game entered the last 10 minutes there was still time for replacement Jaid Wiltshire to show his turn of speed for a further two tries, his first the only one of the day that Johnson did not make the conversion with, and the second delighting the home crowd as he ran in from half-way, doing well to hold off his marker.
The Coaches' Man of The Match, sponsored by Toppesfield, was jointly awarded to Alex Grey and scrum-half Jack Harvey, the latter signed from Shelford last month.
* For coach Nick Wakley's reaction, as well as a preview to the trip to Dings Crusaders, see Friday's Bury Free Press.