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08 Feb 2022

Bury St Edmunds 44 Old Albanian 43

There should be another statistic in the headline: namely the number of needless mistakes perpetrated by both sides last Saturday. Sadly to relate the visitors were far in advance of their hosts by the time the scorer rested his withered fingers.

Something untoward was on the cards from the first moments. Indeed the first ten minutes saw Albanians gift their first three lineouts to their opponents and, thus invited, Bury ran up a healthy 14 point lead, two forwards tries simply converted by Full Back Reed who was to have plenty of practice in the art of kicking before the day was done.

Apparently galvanised OAs back row Matt Mahoney crossed two minutes later. This seemed to settle the Hertfordshire outfit and burly winger Tom Stileman finished off a smart break from the 22 for fly half Dan Watt to convert.

Needless errors allowed Reed a brace of penalties as play grew frenetic again. Now in catchup mode Jevaughn Warren and the mercurial Sam Jones went over inside two minutes, Watt improving the first effort to give his side an unexpected 24-20 lead at the break. A bonus point earned in the first period seemed to augur well for the visitors.

Even better for the men in blue, the margin was increased immediately on the restart by the powerful Stileman and Watt’s kick sailed over unerringly from the corner. But it would be more than thirty five minutes before A’s added to their account.

This gave the Suffolk men all the time and opportunity they needed to overhaul and then outdistance their guests, as with great belief and effort, and some assistance from the erstwhile leaders, Will Attfield, Sam Kharbouch and Attfield again carved holes in a defence which achieved new levels of porosity. Reed added the extras each time and a third penalty on the hour for good measure.

Again Albanians regrouped and had almost a quarter of the match to wring a result from turmoil. Gradually the pressure told on tiring Bury; but B’s proved they had just enough left in the tank to prosper. First Jarred Sage and then, just on the whistle Ben Charnock broke the stranglehold and a stunned crowd watched as Watt lined up a potential winning conversion.

Despite being given a second attempt at the kick a treacherous wind took the ball, and OA hopes, narrowly wide

Brian Quinn,


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