Winning on the road is hardest achievement in National Leagues
Bury St Edmunds 10
Bury St Edmunds have again stumbled as they hunt their highest ever league finish, with a sixth away loss in a row.
The Wolfpack are aiming to finish their season in sixth or above in the National League Two South, the highest tier of competition they have played in.
But persistent losses on the road have threatened to derail these ambitions, as the side have failed to record an away win since October 28, 2017, when Bury beat Canterbury 29-21.
It leaves them in seventh position in the table — they’re previous best ever finish in 2015/16 — as they prepare to try again on the road with a trip to Worthing (10th) on Saturday (2pm).
Bury St Edmunds rugby director Kevin Maggs, a former Irish international, said away games remained a problem of the National Leagues due to the travel distances and ability to prepare well.
He said: “It’s hard for the lads when they play away, arriving either late the night before or early the morning of a game.
“They quite often arrive tired and not at their best to then play a game of rugby.
“It makes winning away from home one of the hardest things to do at this level.
“And Bury have struggled a little, but I’m sure there are a number of things we can do to improve it.”
The signs of improvement on the road are there, with the Wolfpack staying toe-to-toe with Taunton throughout the first half in dire conditions, showing a real desire and commitment to a first ever win over the Somerset side.
But they fell short as the game went on, fatigue kicking in on the heavy, waterlogged pitch. The visitors were the ones to start brightest, Liam McBride charging down a Taunton clearance to show the team’s determination.
It spurred the home team on though, as they took the lead on 11 minutes with a converted try.
Chris Snelling appeared to have scored shortly after — but the referee adjudged the ball to have been held up — before Will Scholes then had the ball knocked from his hands as he reached for the line.
Finally Scholes powered over, with Fraser Honey adding the extras to put the team level at 7-7 at the break.
But Bury once again found themselves on the back foot after the break as Taunton crossed the line, again converted by a kicker who did not miss on the day. A penalty followed to stretch the home side’s lead to 17-7.
Bury fought hard, Honey converting a penalty to close the gap to a losing bonus point with just 10 minutes to go, but a final converted try by Taunton took the game away.
The Wolfpack were unfortunate not to have the final score of the day, with calls for a penalty try in the 80th minute downgraded to a penalty, which led to an agonising knock on to end the game.