Ashton Bears 30
Bury Broncos 24

Bury Broncos slumped to their third consecutive defeat of the season as they let an early lead slip to suffer a narrow away loss to Ashton on Saturday.

Rick West grabbed a brace with a try either side of half time, Martin Wilcock, Sam Donley and Charlie Delaume also crossed but it was not enough for Bury to come away with the points.

The result means the Broncos hold on to third position but are now five points adrift of league leaders Orrell St James. The Broncos made a flying start and were 10-0 up within the first three minutes through tries from Wilcock and West.

The first was a flowing passing move out left, with the second set up well by a Rick Brogan break. West gathered a difficult pass well to touch down under the sticks.

However, Broncos began conceding penalty after penalty in an undisciplined performance and within 10 minutes the scores were level. Bury had looked the better team early on but gave Ashton too much free territory and too many repeat sets near the line to hold them out.

Sam Donley managed to restore the Bury lead, charging over on the left to continue a promising start to life at the club with his second try in as many weeks. However, Blake Roberts’ attempted conversion hit the post to make it 14-10.

Five minutes later Ashton took the lead for the first time in the game. Wilcock was sin-binned for the team’s persistent offsides before Charlie Delaume was harshly adjudged to have ripped the ball illegally when he was the only man in the tackle.

Instead of a canter to the line for the winger the home side stayed alert and took advantage of their extra man and made a big break themselves, grounding under the sticks to put themselves back in front.

A heroic defensive effort from Joe Galpin kept the score 16-14 at half time, diving at the feet of the Bears winger to deny a certain try near the whistle, but the try-saving tackle saw him take a blow to the head and gave the already depleted Broncos fewer options from the bench going into the second half.

Further tries followed in the second half as West latched on to a teasing ball from Chris Radford for his second of the game, before Delaume got his name on the scoresheet following a superb offload from Mark Brocklehurst.

However, Bury could not keep the hosts out at the other end as Ashton ran in three more tries themselves to maintain a narrow lead through the second period and come out victors by six points.

Bury will now be looking to consolidate third position as they look to get back to winning ways with Saturday’s home fixture against local rivals Little Hulton Reds.