Pressure Without Points
Bury St Edmunds 33 Canterbury 14
by Andy Rogers
This was another frustrating performance from the City side. If the game was only played between the respective 22 metre areas you could argue Canterbury were more than a match for their hosts. But when it came to converting pressure and territory into points there was only one side in it.
Bury, orchestrated by their influential fly half Ben Penfold and the powerful running from their threequarters, always threatened when in possession.
Buoyed by their recent good run Canterbury started brightly but it was Bury who opened the scoring when after an interception and quickly taken tap penalty flanker Mat Bursey drove over in the corner.
Things got worse when Canterbury slept at another quick penalty and Bury No8 Ruaraidh Williams completed the job.
Trailing by twelve points this only told part of the story. Canterbury were playing some attractive rugby, always competitive and clearly having the edge in the scrums, this despite the early loss to injury of tight head Will McColl. Twice Canterbury were held up over the line from attacking lineouts.
So it was no surprise when it finally took a trademark Nathan Morris catch and drive, converted by Frank Reynolds, that brought them back in the game.
Optimism was to be short lived though, because having effectively soaked up Bury pressure a loose exit kick allowed the home side to hit back with hooker Archie Bourne going in under the posts to complete the first half scoring and open up a 19-7 lead.
The second half was much of the same. Canterbury had more than their fair share of possession but errors and poor handling at critical times would be their undoing. Whilst the scrummage continued to dominate there was still hope. Here front rowers Adam Malik and Dan Huntley, both promoted from the successful Pilgrims, were to make their first team debuts from the bench.
Just when needed however the Canterbury lineout started to badly misfire. Four promising attacking opportunities were butchered either stolen or given as not straight.
Bury would go on to show how it should be done. Absorbing Canterbury pressure and with limited possession they would go on to score two further tries.
Between these, prop Elliot Lusher touched down under the posts after good work from flanker Jake Dengate. Reynolds’ conversion narrowed the gap to twelve points before the home side rounded things off with a final try. So Canterbury left without a point but with a point to prove in how to turn pressure into scores before next weeks testing home game against league leader Esher.