Old Redcliffians 24
Bury St Edmunds 14
Bury produced arguably their worst performance of the season as they went down to lowly Old Reds.
The Bristol side fully deserved their second win of the season as they showed far more heart and desire than The Wolfpack.
The 7.30am departure might have been a factor in Bury conceding a try after just 90 seconds, and what followed was an error-strewn display.
From the kick off Reds had Bury on the back foot. Chris Lord’s sliced clearance was returned with interest and, as the Bury defence raced up, the ball was thrown wide for No 8 Ethan Doyle to run in to the corner.
Bury responded quickly, but a knock-on saw a promising attack halted, a portent of things to come. Debutant Jake Ashby, at scrum half, tried to get Bury going and hounded his opposite number, but all too often Bury fell foul of the referee for a scrum technicality or a ruck offence.
Five minutes of madness saw Redcliffians score again and Bury lose two players to the sin bin. First Alex Stanley was adjudged to have deliberately not released in the tackle. As Reds turned the screw, Sean Stapleton followed after he went off his feet at a ruck. Inevitably the 13 men could not stop a penalty try as the Reds’ scrum advanced.
Bury battled hard. One shining light was the performance of Connor O’Reilly in midfield. His line breaks were a feature, and his fast reaction to a spilt pass and then a burst of speed set up Lord to run in by the posts to send Bury in at the interval only 12-7 down.
Bury began to enjoy the lion’s share of the ball in the second half, but despite good efforts from Mark Kohler and Liam McBride, they laboured to prise open a solid defence.
Good attacking positions in the opposition 22 saw them lose the ball in contact or be held up in the tackle or maul.
Reds’ first meaningful venture into Bury territory, after 20 minutes, saw them score.
A long kick was chased well, hurrying Lord into conceding a lineout. The catch was driven before Wiltshire peeled off the side and burst away to send in Clements.
Reds clinched the bonus point when a quickly-taken lineout was driven on. The ball was shipped left for substitute Ben Fry, on an unstoppable angle, to make it 24-7.
Bury tried to salvage something, but could not score despite numerous penalties and opportunities. Finally space opened up for Lord to chip over, win the race to his own kick and score by the posts.