Dorking 22- 23 Bury St Edmunds
The Bury Bogey Bites Again
By Kevin Beal
In a tense match at The Big Field Bury St Edmunds ran out winners by a single point, continuing their run of success against the Red & Whites. Dorking took the lead early on with two unconverted tries in the first eight minutes but Bury responded with two of their own plus a penalty to take a 10-13 lead at half time. The third quarter saw both sides probe without success, and despite having the lions’ share of possession Dorking were unable to break through a dogged Bury defensive line. In the final quarter Bury scored under the posts and then iced the cake with a 40 metre drop goal giving them a 13 point cushion. Dorking upped their game in response, but two tries in the dying minutes of the match with only one converted wasn’t quite enough to carry the day.
Playing down the slope Dorking started quickly, opening their account with a try by wing Will Sanders with four minutes gone and a second by centre Tom Howe four minutes later. With both conversions missed in an uncharacteristically barren day for Henry Anscombe, they were 10 points up. Shaking off the coach trip, Bury’s pack responded by winning a penalty on the Dorking 22 affording fly half Ben Penfold the simplest of kicks to reduce the deficit to 7 points, 10-3. And shortly thereafter, a gap opened in the Dorking defence as centre George Loose took the shortest route to the line to score the visitor’s first try, converted by Penfold. Dorking responded with breaks from Tom Howe, Cam Cowell and Toby McRae, all held up short, as were a number of pick and goes from the forwards. Bury then took play back into the Dorking half through back row breaks lead by Ruaraidh Williams and it was the home team’s turn to man the barricades. A yellow card for a ruck infringement saw Dorking down a man, and opting for a scrum under the Dorking posts rather than take the points, Bury spun the ball wide to the now unmarked Will Attfield to touch down for their second, but again unconverted try on the half hour mark. Dorking’s forwards spent much of the reminder of the half pummelling the Bury line but were unable to broach the visitor’s tight defence and the score remained 10-13 at half time.
The first 20 minutes of the second half saw both sides at full stretch but unable to convert attacking pressure into points. With their lineout malfunctioning, Dorking couldn’t capitalise on their field positions and Bury’s back row pick and drives were thwarted by aggressive smother tackling from their opposite numbers. The deadlock was finally broken as somewhat against the run of play a speculative punt downfield from Bury’s Penfold saw Craig Holland’s clearance kick charged down by lock Ben Kellard who gathered the kindly ricochet and dabbed the ball down under the posts for what I am told was his first try for his club in many years of service. With Kodie Drury-Hawkins adding the conversion, followed shortly after by a spectacular 40 metre drop goal, Bury were 10-23 ahead with 20 minutes to go. Sensing that the game was slipping away, Dorking upped their game and were straight back into Bury’s 22 at the restart. Pressurising the visitor’s try line they won a succession of penalties, resulting in two yellow cards for the visitors. But despite a two man advantage and two further tries both out wide from Tom Howe and Cam Cowell, they were unable to regain the lead as with a touch of deja-vu Holland’s final conversion fell agonisingly short.
From the restart in the dying seconds of the game Dorking were straight back on the attack in the visitor’s 22, but again were rebuffed; and as they looked to recycle the ball the Bury pack killed the move, snaffled the ball and Penfold gratefully kicked it dead to signal the end of the match. Dorking 22 – 23 Bury St Edmunds.
Bury’s DoR Jack Ford commented:
“It was a game of very small margins, where neither team, under pressure of a tight game took all their opportunities. I was very impressed with our commitment at the end when we were down to 13 men and our defence held strong”
Dorking’s DoR Armand Roux commented:
"Even though it’s a disappointing result for us, the fact that we simply did not fire in certain areas and still got within striking distance at the end shows the character and the resilience of this team.
It is the nature of sport. Players will have days when they are not at their best and its down to the wider squad and coaching group to support them when it happens.
Bury managed to capitalise on some key mistakes and give them the credit they deserve for that. "
Next week sees a short hop round the M25 to Henley where another stern test surely awaits at Dry Leas.
Cowell, Sanders, Howe, Anscombe (vc), McRae, Holland, Jackson, Birch, Ellis, Bristow, King, Howorth, Jardine, Dalton (c) Osborne.
Replacements - Watson, Connor, Stephenson, Chambers, Smith
Bury St Edmunds:
Drury-Hawkins. Affleck, Loose, Long, Attfield, Penfold, Christie, Robinson, Bourne, Cooper, Greg-Pettit, Kellend, Bursey (c), Meyers, Williams,
Replacements - McCartney, Russell, Jeffery, Porteous, Kharbouch
Star Man – Kodie Drury-Hawkins, Bury St Edmunds
Referee: Mr Peter Caunt
Tries: Saunders 4 mins, Howe 8 mins & 76 mins, Cowell 79 mins
Conversion: Holland 77 mins
Bury St Edmunds:
Tries: Loose 15, mins Attfield 25 mins, Kelland 67 mins
Conversions: Drury-Williams 68 mins
Penalties: Penfold 12 mins