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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Birchley takes chance to impress

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:14 03 March 2010

Rugby: BURY ST EDMUNDS 7, IPSWICH 31 -

IPSWICH elected to use a squad for this friendly fixture against local rivals Bury on Saturday, and will have taken heart from the fact that certain players who were given the opportunity to show the selectors what they had to offer, did not disappoint.

BURY ST EDMUNDS 7, IPSWICH 31

IPSWICH elected to use a squad for this friendly fixture against local rivals Bury on Saturday, and will have taken heart from the fact that certain players who were given the opportunity to show the selectors what they had to offer, did not disappoint.

Man of the match Birchley was one such player, picked on the wing. He scored one try, jinking his way to the line, and created another for full-back Ryan. He always looked dangerous when in possession.

"He did everything we asked of him," said coach Buy Atherton, "but the most impressive aspect of his game was his ability to keep the ball alive, allowing us to keep pressure on the Bury defence."

Novosad, who acme on at half-time, also played well. Both players will be needed in the weeks to come as influential Kiwi, Ryan, and South African centre Dittburner, both return home this week, leaving Ipswich's limited resources tightly stretched.

Hughes returned to the side after a few weeks off due to work commitments. How Ipswich will hope that he remains available for their remaining fixtures.

Hughes converted three penalties early in the first half to settle Ipswich nerves. His goal kicking was of a high calibre, but it is his contribution in the centre, which really shines. He is a class player with vision and rarely makes a wrong move. He will be crucial to Ipswich's league and cup campaigns for the remainder of the season.

Ace Van Heerden also found his form, and kicked sublimely from hand throughout a windy afternoon, taking full advantage of the conditions. His distribution, an area of concern in previous weeks, was also much better, and if the forwards can provide him with quality possession from ruck and maul, he will be a handful for any opponent.

Bury had the Ipswich pack in real trouble at scrum, although it has to be said, Ipswich fielded a scratch front row, with hooker Reever having to prop, in the absence of three or four first choice props, Williams, who normally plays in the third team, also stepped up to a good job for Ipswich, although it was always going to be difficult.

With Bury dominating the scrums, it was impossible for Ipswich to take a stranglehold on the game, although they dominated in the loose, and often won the ball back through some outstanding defensive work.

Towns and Primmer played well in the second row, as did Briggenshaw and Price their replacements in the second half.

Murphy, Searle and Rush, stopped Bury in their tracks when they tried to run the ball through mid-field, forcing Bury's back wide, but Van Heerden and Hughes marshalled the drift defence effectively, leaving Bury with little option but to kick.

With they did kick, Ryan and Birchley gobbled up the ball gratefully, and ran the ball back to good effect.

Atherton will be disappointed that the backs did not finish with more tries than they did, squandering at least three clear overlaps. Certain players will need to work on this aspect of their games, when chances come. They have to take advantage, and punish sides.

Ipswich will be content with this win, but need to strengthen the front row for next week's home game against Thurrock in the league.

Thurrock have a solid pack, and Ipswich will need to compete in this area, if they wish to dominate the game, as they did in the last meeting at Thurrock, when they ran out easy winners.

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