A game of 3 skills; the game was won by goal kicking.
At times Barnes had little answer to Bury's forwards' expertise with pick-and-go and Bury struggled to deal with to Barnes' rolling maul.
The game was won by 2 conversions against one penalty in windy conditions. Each team scored 3 tries from their forwards and 1 from their three-quarters. Bury had a conversion that hit a post and stayed out and missed another of an equivalent difficulty to one that Barnes kicked. The bulk of the visitors’ pack, while useful for their key weapon, was no advantage in the set scrums and may have eventually counted against them.
Barnes kicked-off with the wind; Bury ran the ball wide but were almost immediately penalised 12 metres inside their half. Barnes put the ball into touch at the opposition 22 then from the line-out their pack drove to the line, moving infield a bit, with no. 8 Malaney on the ball to touch down at a minute and a half. Fullback O'Toole converted.
The next minutes contained errors and turnovers by both teams then a turnover by Bury set wing Snelling / Solomon on a 30 metre run that ended with a penalty for the defence 6 metres out. Barnes cleared to touch then the line-out resulted in a Bury scrum put-in after which they kicked to touch 5 metres out. Barnes threw this line-out not-straight, with the wind probably contributing. From their scrum Bury got to the line but were judged held up resulting in a Barnes' scrum. They were able to kick up field from this and got another at their 10 metre line when Bury passed forward. They didn't get the ball way cleanly from this scrum and Bury advanced keeping the ball tight and recycling 3 times until penalised for not releasing 12 metres out. Barnes kicked to touch just past halfway then from the line-out varied their recycling through 5 phases before being turned over. The visitors kicked ahead and regained then recycled twice before kicking to touch at the opposition 10 metre line. At first they kept the ball in the line-out and the Ref. Signalled a penalty then they went wide and broke down the far wing with Cottenden unselfishly handing on to O'Toole who touched down then added at 18 minutes.
Barnes kicked back the high restart and its favourable bouncing meant that Bury had to clear to touch just outside their 22. Barnes' pack kept the ball in and advanced; when this was stopped the released to centre where they were penalised at the 22 for not releasing. Bury ran this and got another penalty at the next breakdown. This was kicked to touch 18 metres into the other half. They released to centre from the line-out and were turned over by opposition centre Butler. Kicks were exchanged before the visitors forced an error to regain possession; they recycled twice to get a penalty near halfway. The kick took them to their line-out 25 metres out. From this they first kept the ball tight before a 10 => 12 => 10 loop around was the start for an excellent set of ten recycles of mostly pick-and-go after which flanker Bixby got over at 26 minutes and fullback Bird converted.
The visitors secured the restart and recycled twice before being penalised. Barnes kicked for a line-out 14 metres out. From that they tried a rolling maul that Bury stopped from moving twice and got a 5 metre scrum put-in. They cleared to touch, still 9 metres inside their half. Barnes were penalised soon after the line-out when a ball carrier was isolated. Bury kicked to touch into the other half and got a free-kick at their line-out. Their pack ran this and then put together a remarkable sequence of 26 phases, almost all tight, to get a penalty 12 metres out. Then they kicked for a line-out 5 metres out and drove for the line. The defence stopped it 3 metres then Bury recycled 5 times before hooker Gibson got over at 36 minutes. The conversion was just wide.
The visitors secured the restart, recycled twice then launched an up-and-under. Barnes dealt with this comfortably then an adventurous switch of play before kicking created some chaos in their own ranks. Bury sent the ball to centre Mann who broke through in mid-field then slipped a tackle to get to the posts for the lead, converted by Bird for 14 – 19 before the halftime whistle.
It looked as if Bury had had much the better of possession and territory in that half. Many thought Barnes had not made enough use of the wind but in the second half the wind didn't seem to be a factor.
An error at the restart gave Barnes a scrum back after which they kicked to touch just outside the opposition 22. From their line-out the visitors launched an up-and-under that got them a scrum after which and an exchange of kicks Barnes got the next line-out outside the opposition 22. Bury use the “no-defence” defence at this line-out when Barnes tried to set up a rolling maul. When Barnes released to centre Bury were penalised and Barnes kicked for another line-out 5 metres out. Again Bury fell away from the intended maul then an error gave them the next put-in 8 metres out. They cleared to touch at the 22 after the scrum. After the line-out they forced a turnover before kicking out on the full, giving Barnes another line-out outside their 22. They again released to centre and were penalised for not releasing. Bury kicked for a line-out still 15 metres inside their half then advanced in midfield to get another penalty on halfway at 9 minutes. From there they attempted the 3 points only to miss. Barnes cleared to touch to 15 metres inside their half and from the line-out the visitors put together a very good series of phases 9 finishing with Bixby breaking a tackle to go over at 12 minutes for a 10 point lead. Bird's conversion hit a post and stayed out.
Bury secured the restart and let their backs have the ball. Very soon an error gave the opposition a scrum 18 metres into the visitors' half. The ball was kept in the scrum and this got Barnes a penalty that was kicked to touch just inside the 22. They released to centre then an offload and a switch got them another penalty, but further back. Again they kicked for a line-out, to the same place as just before; this time the forwards kept the ball and drove for the line. They got close and the Ref. gave a penalty try at 17 minutes. O'Toole added.
Barnes secured the high restart and returned an up-and-under that resulted in a scrum for the visitors then after that a basic error gave the opposition one. From this Barnes went wide and got into the other half before being forced into touch. Bury kept the ball tight from the line-out and advanced strongly before recycling 5 times then at 21 minutes tried a rather speculative drop-goal attempt that failed. They ran back the 22 drop-out and recycled a couple of times to get a penalty 15 metres into the opposition half in centre field and at 22 minutes Bird doubled the lead to 6 points.
After the restart Barnes were penalised for a high tackle; this took the visitors to their line-out at the opposition 22. They let the ball out and advanced varying their recycling to get another penalty 5 metres out and a man advantage for 10 minutes. They chose to have a scrum but Barnes' power resulted in their getting one at the same place. Bury were penalised when Barnes kept the ball in and drove. A good touch kick took them to nearly halfway. From the line-out they went wide and advanced well before the Ref. went back to give a penalty against the visitors at their 10 metre line. The kick took Barnes to the opposition 22; from the line-out they kept the ball in and drove but the defence got the next scrum 12 metres out. Under pressure got the ball away and kicked ahead; on 29 minutes, a speculative kick through at centre by Barnes is reclaimed by a charging Cottenden. This resulted in Bury getting a yellow card and was a key moment that set up the platform for the games final scores. The penalty was awarded 6 metres out and now Barnes chose a scrum. They kept the ball in to get another penalty and opted for another scrum. After it was reset the ball came out not under control and Malaney went for the line. He was held up and the attackers got another 5 metre scrum. This time the drive to the line was successful with flanker Givens on the ball but the Ref. had already awarded a second penalty try at 34 minutes. O'Toole added for the lead
Barnes returned the high restart with an up-and-under and got a penalty at the catch. They kicked to touch just past halfway then the visitors stole the line-out. Bury then put together an excellent series of 17 phases while unable to advance then were awarded a penalty that they decided to run from their own half. Their forwards then recycled 7 more times before the whistle went.
Dry, bright and sunny, 80% blue sky with fairly strong gusting wind along the dry and firm pitch.