Bury St Edmunds RUFC lose 50-0 away to Taunton Titans in heavy National League 2 South defeat
Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club have suffered a 50-point whitewash away to Taunton Titans in the National League 2 South.
It was a humbling defeat in deepest Somerset to a side the Wolfpack have never been able to overcome in their league meetings – losing all seven encounters since sharing the same league from the 2015/16 season.
But the 50-0 scoreline on the road is the heaviest of those defeats, after a 'horror show' first half saw the visitors ship 36 unanswered points.
A much improved second half performance could not repair the damage as their hosts dominated.
Having looked like they would be on the end of a cricket score, the visitors held out until the 75th minute before finally conceding two tries in the dying minutes.
The game never got going for Bury as the tone was set by them knocking-on the kick off and, although Bury then won the resulting scrum against the head, a poor clearance allowed the hosts to run the ball back through some ineffective tackles for Mason to score.
Bury did enjoy a spell of possession but, as the lineout began to malfunction and once again the ball was knocked forward, the initiative was handed back to Taunton.
One of the few bright spots for Bury was the performance of the scrum. Even with the loss of Cooper following a clash of heads, it remained solid all day long.
But Taunton still doubled their lead on 12 minutes when Mason crashed the ball up from a scrum 20m out and Hayler was on hand to power over from close range.
Chances were few and far between for the Wolfpack, but O'Reilly – making a welcome return in the centre – did manage to squeeze through a gap and charge down field. With support arriving on his outside, he chose to go it alone and the chance went begging.
With Bury’s lineout now in complete disarray, Taunton were dominating proceedings.
Bury defended well but were again powerless to stop Taunton from adding to their score on 23 minutes.
Again the Bury scrum held firm, but the strike runners proved too powerful and Lee eventually forced his way over. Kingdom’s extras pushed Taunton on to 19 – 0.
Perhaps the pivotal moment in the match came ten minutes later. As beset them in recent weeks, Bury were lacking a cutting edge in midfield before finally Ben Leng managed to burst clear and get Bury into the Home 22.
A desperate Titans' defence conceded a penalty under the posts, which Bury elected to scrum rather than kick at goal.
Bury attacked but, when only feet from the line, fumbled the ball in contact. The hurried clearance kick hung in the swirling wind andm while two Bury defenders stood back and watched the ball bounce, Titans skipper Mason raced onto the ball, gathered and sprinted 60m for a killer try.
Before Bury knew where they were, they had conceded two more tries in the last two minutes of the half. If this had been a boxing match one might have been tempted to throw the towel in as Bury looked disorientated and dishevelled as they trudged down the tunnel at half time trailing 36 – 0.
It was a sobering half for Bury. Taunton had been very good but they had seized on every Bury mistake – and there were several – to make them pay so heavily, to leave the visitors facing a second half about damage limitations and restoring some pride.
To that extent, Bury could rightly claim they achieved that although the weather took a serious turn for the worse, driving rain adding to the strong swirling wind, to provide some assistance to a flailing Bury.
Cam Ritchie had moved up to fly half and his show and go got Bury deep into the Titans 22 after just five minutes. An illegal tackle halted the move giving Bury another glorious penalty chance and a yellow card to the Taunton lock. However, once again Bury lost the ball when trying too hard to force the score and the Titans escaped.
Bury began to shade the contest and were getting their fair share of penalties but, as before, the failing lineout lost them field position.
Number Eight Prior was a constant threat for Taunton and his strong ball carries often set the platform for Mason and Rice to make inroads down the middle of the park.
But Bury dug in and created a few chances of their own. Connor O'Reilly – who had a fine game – broke the Taunton line and then linked with Fin Sharpe who had come in from the opposite wing. Sharpe was only denied by a fabulous last gasp tackle by fullback Kingdom.
Hasenlechner's introduction midway through the half added some much needed tempo to the Bury attacks and both he and Ritchie made half breaks, but neither could be converted into something tangible.
As the clock ticked down to the final five minutes, a tiring Bury side were cruelly picked off. Firstly a fumble on the Bury 22 as the Wolfpack tried to run out of their defence was kicked through and 'Toots' touched down.
And then in injury time, with the last play of the game Taunton made it the half century. Bury were penalised for a double movement, the penalty was taken quickly and, although Bury scrambled back, there was no stopping Sam Prior from five metres to round off the scoring.
Tom Brown was named the Bury Man of the Match for his tireless work in a losing cause.
Pick up a copy of this week's Bury Free Press for reaction to the result and a preview of their next match, Saturday's home game against Worthing.