COLCHESTER 14 BURY ST EDMUNDS 13
Suffolk Cup semi-final
Colchester won this cup cliffhanger with the very last move of the match snatching victory from Bury St Edmunds after they had led for most of the game.
Colchester’s never-say-die attitude and better fitness proved decisive in a nail-biting climax.
The large midweek Mill Road crowd enjoyed an exciting contest from these two evenly-matched sides who shared honours in the league this season, and with Bury keen to avenge defeat by Colchester in last year’s final.
Bury started the stronger, their well-drilled pack attacking through a series of rolling mauls.
Both teams tackled fiercely, resolute defences absorbing attacks in a ding-dong opening half hour. Bury centre Tim Mann was sin-binned for preventing an early release and Chris Wither’s 45-metre penalty kick narrowly missed.
Opening the scoring with a 30-metre penalty kick, Bury fly-half Brendan Krammer punished Colchester’s offside before home prop Joe McMillan was sin-binned for repeating the offence.
A line-out catch and drive trundled over the line where flanker Isaac Healu touched down to take Bury to an 8-0 halftime lead.
Colchester stormed back at the start of the second half, full-back Nick Flaxman making the first line break of the game before Bury were penalised for killing the ball, Withers added Colchester’s first three points.
Bury responded by taking the restart kick and driving into their opponents 22, their rolling maul was held by Colchester until lock Tim Young weaved his way through the crowd to touchdown.
Winger Lawrence Tapper’s injury left a gap in the Colchester line but a poor pass wasted Bury’s chance to extend their 13-3 lead.
The Bury driving maul denied Colchester possession for the next 20 minutes until their forwards began to tire.
The fitter Colchester forwards began to turnover ball, led by the outstanding Ollie Pickett at number eight, releasing their threatening back line for the last 15 minutes.
Centres Jon Vine and Calum Irvine closed to within five metres of the Bury line; Brambley broke, supported by replacement hooker Matt Adamson - on for the promising Colt debutant Jake Avitabile - before Macmillan’s drive ended with Bury penalised for preventing release.
Withers then kicked the points.
Bury centre Tim Ball was sin-binned for a high tackle and Withers converted the consequent penalty for to cut the visitors’ lead to 13-9.
The Bury forwards tucked the ball up for one last rolling maul, but Colchester’s resurgent pack turned them over and Brambley raced from one 22 to the other.
Vine was held up on the line before driving within a metre; replacement wing Paul Summerson juggled but failed to hold a bouncing ball as the tryline beckoned - but his next touch was good. Colchester quickly tapped and ran a penalty for Summerson to fly over in the corner for the winning score.
Wither’s kick narrowly missed but the referee’s final whistle ended the drama before the ball landed.
Colchester await either Mersea or Stowmarket in the final, likely to be played on Saturday, April 30, or Sunday, May 1.