Bears pay tribute to one of their own then put in valiant display against top of the table Bury St Edmunds III

March Bears.

March Bears. - Credit: Archant

It was a poignant occasion as March Bears hosted top of the table Bury St Edmunds III in Eastern Counties Greene King Division 2W on Saturday.

March Bears.

March Bears. - Credit: Archant

Before the game a minute’s silence was held in memory of former Bear Allan Johns who represented the club from his teens into his 30s. He died aged 47 last month.

Club president Barry Feetham said: “Allan was prepared to play in any position that was asked of him from prop forward to centre and loved the social side of rugby and the camaraderie of rugby players.

“His good sense of humour had everyone laughing. He expressed his opinion on the pitch and during the years that he played gained many friends.

“He will be greatly missed by his former rugby colleagues and other sports that he took part in.”

Bears knew that this would be a tough encounter and they got off to the worst possible start, conceding two converted tries within the first five minutes.

Bears started to gain momentum and put the visitors under pressure but were unable to breech their solid defence.

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Brave tackling was not enough to keep the visitors from crossing the line for two more converted tries and notching up a penalty to make it 31-0 at half-time.

Bury bagged two more tries after the break before Bears got on the score sheet through a brilliant individual effort from Michael Croucher.

He picked the ball up in his own 22 metre area and out-stripped Bury’s attempted tackles to stop him, side stepping several players, before touching down in the corner to rapturous applause.

Three were four more tries for Bury who ran out 71-5 winners but Bears could not be faulted for their commitment.

Bears travel to Haverhill who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary on Saturday.