Monday, December 4, 2023

Rugby: Thurrock fail to bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds 15 v 15 Thurrock

A successful penalty kick by Mike Stanley with the last play of the game, grasped victory away from the home side and ensured the visitors a share of the spoils…….

Stanley, the former England Under 20’s player, was the games stand out performer and it was his inspired second half display that dragged Thurrock back from a 15 – 0 half time deficit. Up until the break things had gone well for Bury in a keenly fought encounter. they needed to however, as Thurrock showed that once again they will be amongst the league’s leading sides come April.

Home side scrum half Matt Briggs had the chance to open the scoring for Bury on 3 minutes with a penalty for midfield offside but dragged his kick wide. However, he made no mistake 8 minutes later when he slotted a regulation kick at goal.

Bury’s, three quarters were looking dangerous attacking from deep and were unlucky not to have engineered a try for Jo Davis, the linesman spotting that centre Kenny Eggars had put a foot in touch before his “try” scoring pass. Thurrock looked to have the bigger set of forwards and tried to power their way through the Bury line, failing twice with chances in the early part of the game. Ironically Bury’s opening try came from a series of drives by the Bury pack with No 8 Warren Kearney forcing his way over from close range. Briggs added the extras and it was 10 – 0 to Bury. Thurrock responded well and penned Bury back but their defence held firm, twice clearing their lines having had to defended line outs from with 5 metres of their try line.

Thurrock continued to try and turn the screw up front but the home side stood up well. Their tenacity in defence began frustrate the visitors and some of their play became ragged. Bury seized their moment and having swung the ball one way they brought the ball back the other, winger Jo Flexman rounding off a sweeping move for an unconverted try. HALF TIME: BURY 15 THURROCK 0

The early stages of the second half would be when the game would be decided.. Bury needed a score to close the game out whilst a clearly fired up Thurrock side knew if they scored the first points it would put them back in the game.

Full Back Barry Frost was a constant thorn in the Thurrock defence and after going close once from a fine solo break, he was crudely cut down off the ball by his opposite Darryl Worster, denying him a potential try and earning the Thurrock captain ten minutes in the bin!

Bury could not convert the resulting penalty and for much of the remainder of the half they were forced to defend long periods in their own half…Bury, having only conceded 2 penalties in the first half, began incurring the wrath of referee Dave Speck, Fly Half Stanley started receiving the ball in more space and time and he began to influence the game more and more he worked his team down into the right hand corner.

Bury were able to stop the resulting drive from a Thurrock line out but Bury No8 Kearney was adjudged to entered from the side and was sent to the bin now giving no side an numerical advantage. Thurrock continued to batter the Bury line and it was Michael Stanley who was halted initially on the half way line but he was then released in the tackle allowing him to race through from 45 metres to score under the post’s the conversion was a formality.

Restored to 15 and now only trailing by 7 The Essex 8 took advantage of their extra man and rumbled their way over with Ben Timson getting the all important touch down following a lineout deep in Bury 22. The Bury forwards were visibly creaking playing a man down but they were hanging on gamely repelling most Thurrock attacks.
With less than 2 minutes remaining, could Bury survive…..? Having halted two attacks, Bury turned the ball over and Player Coach Hogg kicked the ball to touch. Referee Speck deemed there was time for just one more play! Once again, Thurrock chose to use their forwards to try and power through the Bury line and once again they were thwarted only for Bury to then be penalised for handling in the ruck. Stanley’s nerveless penalty from 30 metres went just inside the posts to seal a valiant comeback..





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