First win joy for Royston

PUBLISHED: 11:00 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:54 12 May 2010

Royston U-16 17 Barnet U-16 5 ROYSTON won their first match of the season against a technically superior Barnet team through spirit, determination and a dogged defence. The victory was marred when the game ended three minutes early because a collapsed sc

Royston U-16 17 Barnet U-16 5

ROYSTON won their first match of the season against a technically superior Barnet team through spirit, determination and a dogged defence.

The victory was marred when the game ended three minutes early because a collapsed scrum left Kieron Baker prostrate on the ground with a neck injury.

He went to hospital in a neck brace but fortunately was allowed home later in the afternoon after X-rays revealed no spinal damage.

He is keen to resume rugby as soon as allowed. Barnet won the toss and elected to play downhill with the wind and sun behind them.

Their superior rucking and driving through the forwards soon led to them bundling over the Royston line for an unconverted try. Barnet's superiority in the scrum looked as though it might be another day of rearguard action by Royston trying to stem the tide.

However, stalwart tackling by the whole team, but particularly the back row of Alex Parker, Alex Harwood and Josh Langley, fly half Adam Oakman and centres Ben Ritsema and Stuart Goldfinch, kept Barnet at bay for the rest of the half.

Neat passing between Parker and Oakman took Royston up to the Barnet five-metre line and a few minutes later Goldfinch crossed the line for the equalising try. The kick against the wind failed.

In the second half Royston attacked remorselessly. With a fresh pair of flankers in James Watson and George Elbourn and a new front row of Aidan Towner, Shane Hume and Joe Cullen, Royston continued to thwart Barnet and made the benefit of the wind tell as Oakman constantly pinned them back in their own half.

From another breakout neat passing between replacement centre Adam Smith and Goldfinch sent Oakman racing clear to touch down between the posts and add the conversion.

Smith had a seemingly good try disallowed following intervention from the Barnet touch judge, but Royston had the last word when Oakman darted blind from a ruck on the Barnet line and crashed over in the corner.

The collapsed scrum in Barnet's 22 with Royston's put-in saved Barnet from a possible further score. Alex Lanham had his best game in a Royston shirt, Dan Ritsema was solid at full back and hooker Dwayne Wilkins marked his return with a tireless game of hustling, harassing and tackling like a loose forward.

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