BURY Blue Devils edged their latest Manchester Area Basketball League Premier Division clash against local rivals Oldham 75-73 in a thrilling finish.

It was Bury who found their rhythm early with good ball movement that led to five players hitting the target with coach Stu Jackson identifying mismatches to exploit on offence.

Defensively Bury held Oldham to only 13 points in the first quarter which, for an offensively-minded team, was a good sign for Bury.

Leading 23-16, it was veteran Mike Nichols, hitting seven consecutive points, who gave Bury a commanding 14-point lead before Oldham stepped up their game, going on a 14-4 run until Nichols hit another six consecutive points.

Ste Graham was blocking shots and bringing his experience to the table for Bury, making sure the visitors felt the full force of his capabilities and this helped the Blue Devils to a 44-38 advantage at the break.

The teams traded baskets in the third quarter with Bury’s Vitoldas Balciunas using his great footwork and size to score inside and Graham was finding his range with eight points in the quarter.

Leading by eight points going into the fourth quarter, Bury seemed to hold the advantage but a strong 11-2 run gave the lead to Oldham for the first time before Nichols hit a three-pointer.

Oldham scored four points before another veteran, Nick Metcalfe, found room inside for a nice basket and Graham added another two points.

Leading by two with two minutes remaining, Bury had to play smart but defensive pressure from Oldham led to a mistake and they took the lead with a minute remaining before man-of-the-match Graham hit a clutch three to give Bury a one-point lead.

Oldham countered with a quick basket but Metcalfe slithered inside for a score, giving Bury back the advantage with 18 seconds remaining.

Oldham reverted to fouling and it was Callum Brady that stepped up to the line and hit a crucial free throw, giving Bury a two-point lead with four seconds remaining and they saw out the victory.