Bad day at the office for Town
Stevenage Town s inconsistency came to the fore this week as they fell to defeat having gained a hard fought and well won victory the previous week against Woodford. Town started well playing into a swirling wind and had the better of the early exchanges
Stevenage Town's inconsistency came to the fore this week as they fell to defeat having gained a hard fought and well won victory the previous week against Woodford.
Town started well playing into a swirling wind and had the better of the early exchanges as they tried to capitalise on their territorial advantage.
This was thwarted by a number of eccentric refereeing decisions, which denied Town and gave respite to the home side. The referee had a poor game and later in the second half denied Bury a certain try when Town knocked on in touch in goal and the ball was grounded by Bury. To Town's relief he gave a knock on and did not play the obvious advantage which should have resulted in a try.
Bury took the lead in the 10th minute against the run of play when full back Beukies kicked the first of five penalties.
The lead was extended to 6-0 in the 27th minute when Beukies scored a second penalty conceded by Phil Pearson, which also saw him sent to the sin bin.
This setback seemed to inspire Town, who almost immediately reduced the arrears with a penalty from Kyle Lemon. This was quickly followed up by a good try from the ever improving and influential Tom Meller, who took advantage of space around the fringe of a ruck to drive over. The conversion from Lemon gave Town a 10-6 lead.
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This would have been a good lead to take into half time, but Bury scored a third penalty right on the interval, when a good break out of defence involving Pearson, Gareth Wall and Lemon, came to an end with the referee apparently penalising Pearson for not releasing.
The second half will be best forgotten by Town, who were unable to gain any useful possession and spent most of the half on the back foot. Pearson was forced out of the game at half time with a troublesome knee injury and he was sorely missed as Town failed to exert the forward dominance, which has become so much part of their game. Meller, Adam Amos and Tavita Faamausili were lively in the loose play, but Town struggled in the set scrums and were unable to set a platform from which they could mount any decisive attacks.
The Bury dominance of the second half saw Beukies score two further penalties and the win was confirmed for Bury with a good late try by winger Ward, following up a piece of skilful play by Sperling, who kicked ahead and gathered before making the scoring pass.
It is of some comfort to Town that having had hardly any possession of their own in the second half, they restricted Bury to the one try, and that resulting from some individual brilliance.
This was not one of Town's better performances yet they remained competitive and in the game almost to the end. If only they could eliminate the unforced errors and play the percentages, there should be no reason why they will not climb up the league.