A draw for Royston
Royston U-16 14 Luton U-16 14 ON Sunday at the Heath Royston faced a well-drilled unit from Luton, who had been on tour to Barcelona last year and had clearly benefited from playing and training together. The heavier Luton pack frequently disrupted Roys
Royston U-16 14 Luton U-16 14
ON Sunday at the Heath Royston faced a well-drilled unit from Luton, who had been on tour to Barcelona last year and had clearly benefited from playing and training together.
The heavier Luton pack frequently disrupted Royston's scrum although hooker Joe Cullen won as many strikes against the head as he was forced to concede.
Throwing in to the line-out was a bit of a lottery, but Martin Goddard won most of his own ball and stole some of Luton's.
When Luton did tap it down James Watson and Alex Lanham were quickly through the line to harass the visiting scrum half.
Playing with the very strong wind in the first half Royston started poorly with only flanker George Elbourn, on his return from appendicitis showing in the loose.
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Despite the wind Royston were incapable of winning good enough ball to be able to kick for territory.
It went from bad to worse when a back move was stifled on the Luton 10-yard line, the ball ripped out of the maul and fed to the Luton right winger who raced away and scored under the posts. The fly half managed to drill the conversion through the wind and over the posts.
Gradually, Royston came into the game more and after Luton had conceded a penalty in front of the posts, quick thinking from scrum half Patrick McGarry and centre Joe Hillman put left wing Darren Grover over in the corner.
Ben Ritsema's excellent conversion levelled the scores with five minutes left of the first half. More quick thinking from Hillman saw a teasing kick high into the wind bemuse the Luton full back for outside centre Stuart Goldfdinch to follow up, seize the loose ball and power over the line. Ritsema again converted well.
14-7 up at half time, but now facing the elements it did not look promising for Royston, but suddenly the pack discovered its rucking and mauling form and with the backs, especially full back Dan Ritsema and the centres Hillman and Goldfinch, breaking tackles, making ground and laying the ball back, Royston sent much of the half in Luton territory.
Twice they were held up over the line and with better options may well have scored.
Typically, Luton soaked up the pressure, kicked a long penalty into the Royston 22 and managed to bundle their large forwards over the line close enough for the conversion to be successful.
In the second half revival props Shawn Jackson and Aidan Towner, together with replacement flanker Keiron Baker stood out.