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Bishop's Stortford RFC lose to Bury St Edmunds in pre-season friendly

Bishop's Stortford began their pre-season campaign with a 49-17 defeat at Bury St Edmunds on Saturday, writes John Allanson.

With the visitors deprived of the services of some 15 first XV regulars - some were attending Declan Caulfield's wedding and others were carrying injuries - it was clear from the off that a strong and well-drilled Bury side were going to be hard to handle.

Their powerful pack dominated scrums and constantly put Stortford's defence on the back foot early on.

The resultant steady supply of good ball to their very well-drilled midfield was generally well exploited and, as the visitors' defence was stretched from side to side, Bury were soon 14 points ahead. A third converted try to the free-running home team came just as the first quarter ended.

Stortford finally got on the scoreboard six minutes later through Louis Castiglione from a driving maul after a five-metre lineout, but Bury's pack registered two tries of their own in the second quarter to take the half-time score to 35-5.

The visitors came more into the game thereafter and were rewarded with a second try to winger Alex Gilham after a period of pressure, with the ball swinging to and fro across the pitch.

Ironically, Bury's final two tries in the last quarter both came from the breakdown of promising Stortford moves, which had taken them deep into home territory.

On each occasion, the loose ball was flyhacked upfield and ended with touchdowns for Bury's impressive fly-half and No 13 - deserved rewards for two of their outstanding players. The last score of the encounter went Stortford's way when another period of sustained attacking pressure produced a two-man overlap, finished out wide by centre Dan Powell and converted expertly from the touchline by Alfie Orchard.

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