Match report: Bury 19 Garstang 24

Garstang withstood pressure to claim Lancashire Bowl victory at Bury
Garstang withstood pressure to claim Lancashire Bowl victory at Bury

Lancashire Bowl

With Storm Brian doing its worst, the conditions were absolutely horrendous with a gale force wind and driving rain blowing down the pitch.

The talk before the game was whether Garstang should play with the wind behind them in the first half to build up a lead on the scoreboard or whether they should chase the game in the second period.

With the toss won Garstang elected to play with the conditions in their favour with the ambition of building up a healthy lead before the interval.

However, it is fair to say that things didn’t quite go to plan as Bury dominated from the off and, within 10 minutes, had bagged a pair of tries to open up a 12-0 lead.

Garstang did eventually get a foothold in the contest but they were coughing up a steady string of penalties which gave Bury easy exits from their own half.

With 10 minutes of the half to play Garstang managed to exert a period of sustained dominance and they were rewarded when Lawson Whittaker slipped through the last tackler to go over under the posts.

Paul Brown clipped over the easy conversion to close the gap at 12-7 as Garstang played the last 10 minutes of the half in the right area but they were continually frustrated by the stout home defence and errors of their own.

Trailing at the break, it was hard to see how Garstang would overturn the deficit given the extreme conditions thy would face.

However, the players started to believe immediately as they scored a try within moments of the restart.

Kieran Davies’ kick off crossed the 10-metre line and was then blown back into the arms of Andy Tissingh who was stood on halfway.

The Bury players, thinking that the referee would blow up for the kick not going 10 metres, momentarily hesitated and this allowed Tissingh to make some serious yards.

The ball was recycled a couple of times before Gavin Barton crashed under the posts and Brown’s conversion put them 14-12 ahead.

Knowing that kicking was going to yield very little Garstang started to run the ball from all over the field with Whittaker held just short of the line and Riley squeezing over to put them 19-12 up.

Joel Dugdale was held up over the line and, from the ensuring scrum, the ball was flicked to the blind side where Sam Tomlinson dived over to score for a 24-12 lead.

Bury were far from finished as there was still plenty of time to go in the game, and although Garstang’s defence was magnificent, the dam finally burst as Bury bludgeoned their way over to narrow the gap to five points at 24-19.

Garstang’s defensive qualities showed with players repeatedly putting their bodies on the line, none more so than Craig Jones.

Just for added drama the referee added five minutes of injury time but Garstang refused to buckle as they held on.