After the previous week’s tough match at home to unbeaten Garstang, this week saw the trip to high-scoring Thornton Cleveleys. The weather was filthy; the rain was persistent and very wet! And it didn’t stop from start to finish, making the pitch very wet and muddy.
It was clear that the conditions would impact heavily on the way the game would be played, making handling a challenge and this was the case right from the off, with a knock-on by Bury from the kick-off.
TC capitalised from that early territorial advantage and from a dominant scrum the TC scrum half put pressure on the Bury clearance and they went into an early 7-0 lead, with a converted try and they maintained the pressure for most of the 1st half, scoring 3 penalties without Bury really troubling them. However, from a penalty kick, fly half Watts put the visitors in the corner and scrum half Cross reaped the rewards of a period of concerted forward pressure by darting over for a try.
Unfortunately, Bury allowed the home side to cancel out their endeavours with a converted try shortly after the re-start from, it must be conceded, good hands, given the conditions. Half time and Bury trailed 23-5.
The second half started off in pretty much the same vein as much of the first half, with TC having the upper hand with possession, but Bury digging in and defending doggedly. However, club physio Kate was called into action, with rain drops dripping from the end of her nose, to tend to scrum half Cross who suffered an aggravation of an old shoulder injury. Following the delay, the TC scrum half was allowed to venture offside and disrupt the back of the scrum and touch down to extend their lead to 30-5.
Bury responded well and from a driving line out were awarded a penalty try, 30-12. This was not accompanied by the customary yellow card but the home blind-side flanker was, not before time, ultimately shown a yellow card having persistently tackled high and cleared out rucks recklessly.
For the last 20 minutes, apart from a fortuitous TC try from a big “hoof” down the middle, Bury had the upper hand. Their defence was improved from the previous week and they enjoyed good territory and possession. They were also unfortunate not to get another score after replacement scrum half Loftus took a quick tap penalty before the TC defence were the requisite 10 metres back. He had managed to break clear and was on his way to the line when the referee blew his whistle for “not 10”!!
It wasn’t just the filthy weather that made this an unpleasant match, but there were many good aspects to the Bury performance to build on, ahead of the next match, at home to Dukinfield on 14th October.