BURY gave themselves too much to do after a nightmare first half at home to North Manchester led to a 41-22 defeat in their final home game of the Lancashire (North) season.

The Radcliffe Road men, who are second-bottom and have been playing for pride for the majority of the campaign, went into the break 31-0 down after a dire opening 40 minutes.

They started brightly enough, looking to build on a victory over Ormskirk in their previous match, but Bury were stopped in their tracks after James Swinburn was sin-binned for a stamp as they drove towards the line looking for an opening score.

The home team held out for the majority of the 10-minute penalty, but once their resistance finally broke,North Manchester ran in two quickfire tries and the floodgates opened.

They went further behind at the start of the second half before player/coach Simon Entwistle, who introduced himself from the bench at half time, inspired an unlikely comeback.

Bury’s forward pack started to make some inroads into the North Manchester defence, while Danny Whitehead’s kicking game helped earn some good field position.

The Rams also began to drive the maul from lineouts and this led to their opening score.

Jonny Allen provided decent ball to Ed Watkins and this was driven with control, creating the platform for Swinburn to redeem himself by diving over the line.

Bury quickly added to their tally in similar fashion through Watkins. They continued to reel in North Manchester with two further tries – a second from Watkins and one from Rob Russell.

And the Rams could easily have had another in the corner right on the stroke of full time but they were unable to complete the comeback.

Bury now finish their campaign at fellow strugglers Ashton-under-Lyne on April 22, and despite looking likely to finish second bottom, league reorganisation means they will probably not be relegated.