BURY'S search for a first win of the Lancashire North season continues after they fell to a 13th straight defeat at unbeaten league leaders Trafford MV.

But a gritty performance from the forwards gave plenty of cause for optimism as they restricted the score to 36-10.

Heads could easily have dropped as the hosts stormed into a 24-0 lead in the first half, mainly through some clinical finishing, with tries from Patrick Eccles and Andrew Clegg and two from Zac Crabb, who also made two conversions.

After slumping to a 70-6 defeat in the reverse fixture, it looked like Bury would be on the wrong end of another heavy loss, but they dug deep with some good work in the pack.

The visitors were dominant in the scrum, led by Andy Townsend, Jonny Allen and Graeme Bigg, and on another day could have been awarded a number of penalties.

It was a good solid forwards' maul that led to Bury’s first score. A lineout on the right wing, taken by Ollie Freschini, was driven on and in the melee winger Craig Boardman touched down for an unconverted try.

Boardman looked set to add a second score before being tackled on the line by the Trafford full-back to keep it at 24-5 at half time.

A burst from Crabb led to another unconverted try for Trafford at the start of the second before their centre, Jack Gallagher, suffered a broken ankle following an innocuous challenge.

The game was moved to an adjacent pitch to allow the ambulance access, and the intensity understandably dropped after the restart.

Jamie Kingdon touched down again for the hosts before Bury's left wing Mark Campbell dummied his opposite number to round off the scoring.

Despite falling to another defeat, second-bottom Rams showed a marked improvement from their early season thrashing and should take confidence from the display as they search for their first win of the campaign at fellow strugglers Colne and Nelson on Saturday.