Bury St Edmunds 4s v Aldeburgh
29th January – at Bury
Result: Bury 19 - Aldeburgh 19
Tight match, thrilling finish
For the second week in a row, Aldeburgh took fewer than 15 players to an away match yet played a full part in an enthralling encounter. Bury supplied one player throughout but that left Aldeburgh playing with one fewer player for the whole game. Despite that handicap, it was an even game throughout until the thrilling denouement.
It was a fine afternoon with excellent conditions other than the layer of mud which covered the pitch. Early on, Aldeburgh demonstrated again their power in forward drives close to the ruck with James Ledger (prop) taking a lead role. When the chance came, they moved the ball slickly through the backs. As Colchester did last week, Bury tended to take a more direct route although they also occasionally moved the ball wide but with less effectiveness than Aldeburgh
The line outs were scrappy but even. Bury were naturally on top in the scrums with the player advantage but Aldeburgh held them and, as the game wore on, became more adept at getting good ball from their own put-ins.
It was 20 minutes before the first score, with Bury pressing through scrums and penalties until their No 6 made a powerful, short run to score under the posts. A simple conversion gave them a 7-0 lead.
Only 5 minutes later, a second late tackle earned Bury a stern lecture from the referee and gave Aldeburgh a penalty. From the ensuing line out, the forwards drove on, several more runs were made again by Ledger, until the other prop, Matt Elias, drove over from close range. Ed Robson (fly half) converted to bring the scores level. That is how it remained at half time.
The second half started in the same way. Totally evenly matched with both sides playing some good rugby. However, after just 8 minutes, a drive by Bury from a line out was well held up by the Aldeburgh forwards who, unfortunately, kept their heads in the ruck while Bury’s No 6 (again) picked the ball up and simply ran over unopposed. The conversion was missed. 12-7.
Aldeburgh hardly had the ball for the next ten minutes. It was looking to be an uphill battle. Eventually the pressure was relieved by a splendid clearance kick by Ed Robson which took advantage of the new 50-22 rule. From the attacking line out, Aldeburgh applied pressure with a couple of good moves by the backs. Bury had the chance to clear with a penalty which went horribly wrong.
Eventually, Aldeburgh swung the ball through the hands, including those of Freddie Burgess (second row) and James Ledger, who had provided an unlikely centre partnership earlier in the season, giving Adam Hateley (centre) the opportunity to finish the move with a fine try in the corner. The missed conversion left the score at 12-12.
As the half wore on, more Aldeburgh players got knocks but carried on as there were no subs. Bury had a couple of breaks which easily could have led to tries but somehow Aldeburgh scrambled back to cover. Just when the game seemed to have petered out into a stalemate, Bury’s No 6 burst through from a ruck close to the Aldeburgh line for his hat trick try under the posts. The conversion made the score 19-12 with the referee indicating that there were only two minutes left. After the struggle to make headway throughout the second half, it looked as though Aldeburgh’s valiant efforts had come to nothing.
There was no sign of them giving up. Bury held the kick off but Aldeburgh kept at them until they regained the ball. After further strong pressure, Jon Hunt (playing second row again) powered over under the posts. When Ed Robson lined up the conversion, there was no doubt that this would be the last kick of the match. The spectators were surprised when he placed the ball on the 22 rather than giving himself a shorter kick. He backed himself to stick to his regular kicking process which kept him out of the way of the charging Bury pack as his kick sailed over to get the draw. What a finish!
Getting a draw when playing the whole game one player short was a tremendous result.It was a great team performance.All the players committed themselves and all appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed the outing.The squad is building in size and quality.If we can field a full time, we can more than hold our own against any team in this league.Next Saturday’s home match against Mistley should be a good one.