Bury St Edmunds 30-22 Canterbury
Bury St Edmunds 30-22 Canterbury

Given an unprecedented and enforced delay of eighteen months it was of huge credit to both sides that they served up a thoroughly entertaining National 2 South game.

The disappointment for Canterbury was finishing on the wrong end of the score line after leading at half time.

In the end it was defensive failures that undid that earlier good work.

Despite conceding a first minute try Canterbury came back to score three of their own before the break. The first saw a steal on the Bury 22 metre line allow Number Eight Tyler Oliver to juggle the ball and touch down.

Next was the turn of impressive tight head prop Danny Herriott, in his first start for the club, who took advantage of a dominant line out and burrowed over from close range. It was left to young scrum half Tom Williams – who may have been many peoples man of the match – to score the best try of the game.

Another line out win saw Williams dummy at the base before drifting through the Bury defence to dab down untouched under the posts.

Bury replied with a penalty from their ever reliable full back Charlie Reed but with another Canterbury debutant – fly half Frank Reynolds – landing two conversions – and astutely kicking for position when called upon, the city club seemed well set to consolidate their 19-10 half time lead. 

Bury had other ideas. Directly from the restart, Canterbury’s lack of defensive nous out wide gave Bury winger Mick Stanaway a simple try. Reed converting again.

To their credit the young Canterbury side responded positively, moving the ball wide and forcing the home side into some desperate defence. But when a fourth try seemed odds on Bury wing Levi Roper intercepted to run the length of the pitch before putting skipper Matt Bursey in under the posts.

That score proved critical because at 27-19 Canterbury were now chasing the game.

Reynolds did reply with another penalty but with Bury’s Reed adding three points to complete a perfect kicking performance it was enough to seal the result.

Still there were positives for the coaches to work on. The line out and set scrums were impressive. The new half back partnership of Reynolds and Williams looks promising.

Lock Jesse De Vries knows how to put in a shift and skipper Jamie Stephens never took a step backwards.It is the defensive shape in the wide areas that needs immediate attention.

Pictures supplied by Phillipa Hilton.