Billy proves to be a Payne for Saints

Royston II 25 St Neots 17 A DETERMINED performance saw Royston progress in the Deuxieme Cup on Saturday in a tight game where there was never more than a try separating the two sides. The Saints started well, with a strong pack they were driving the Roys

Royston II 25 St Neots 17 A DETERMINED performance saw Royston progress in the Deuxieme Cup on Saturday in a tight game where there was never more than a try separating the two sides. The Saints started well, with a strong pack they were driving the Royston pack backwards and with so much ball they were able to run the ball from all over the park. Royston for the first 20 minutes were chasing shadows. Royston's line-outs were clean and sharp. With Billy Payne back at hooker after six weeks away he was able to hit young Sam Morris jumping at number two every time and he passing down to Jack Sirett allowed Royston the rare chances of attacking. It was such a time and with the backs running direct at opposite numbers that created the gap for Paul Dacey to storm through a gap. Dacey was held just short of the line but Tony Richardson was on hand to take the short reverse pass and dive over for the try. St Neots were stunned. After so much ball they hadn't got any points and Royston were to pile on the agony. Captain Mark Lisher sent a spiralling kick away and the speed of Neil Smith he was onto the ball in a flash over the line. The visitors responded and the big forwards crunched their way over the line for a series of tries. The Royston pack began to show some power as the big St Neots' boys tired. A clean ball from another Royston line and with some nifty handling from the backs put Mark Lisher over for a try and then to cap a winning margin Tony Richardson scooped a loose ball and charged for the line taking a few desperate defenders with him. Colin Dacey added a conversion and a penalty to make the final winning margin eight points. Royston U-16 3 Stevenage 39 ROYSTON'S depleted line-up, supplemented by a number of under-15s, found Stevenage too strong. The hosts started brightly carrying the ball well, chasing down Ben Ritsema's kicks ahead and defending well. However, playing against a significantly bigger Stevenage pack it was only a question of time until one of their big forwards punched a big hole in the defensive line and they followed up to score. Royston carried the game back to Stevenage and narrowed the gap when Matt Andrews converted a penalty kick. Stevenage's pressure at the break down meant that they turned over Royston ball too often and this gave them the platform to score two more tries in the first half. In the second half, Royston kept on battling and never gave up but were subjected to relentless Stevenage forward pressure which set the visitors up for four more tries. Ed Hall at hooker had an excellent game, combining particularly well with Martin Goddard who was imperious again at the line-out. Tim Smith caught the eye, playing his first complete game at full back, Darren Graver showed promise on his debut, Stuart Goldfinch came off the bench to put in some thunderous hits and Ben Ritsema had an excellent game at fly half. However, the man of the match award went to Ben Milroy, stand-in captain, for his overall contribution and tackling. - Royston under-nines played host to teams from Ampthill and St.Ives on Sunday. First up were Ampthill. Playing conditions were excellent and both teams were determined to play flowing rugby. Royston were the first to get the upper hand and controlled possession through a series of rucks to edge towards the Ampthill try line. The hosts could not press the advantage home and the first half ended in stalemate. The second period was a different affair, and as the match wore on Ampthill started to find their rhythm and dominate. Royston were forced to make the last ditch tackles, and as the match was heading for a draw, Ampthill managed to wrestle the ball from a Royston player to score and secure a 5-0 victory for the visitors. The second match against St. Ives was a much more one sided affair. Royston started at a hectic pace and worked the ball through two phases before releasing Sam Copeland in space to race down the wing to score. Further tries followed for Copeland, Sam Edney (2), Sam Seglemeglio, and Oliver Bass. The best try was saved for last, as the ball was worked the length of the pitch between forwards and backs and rounded off by Johnno Roope scoring in the corner. The match ending 35-5 to Royston. The day's play was rounded off with a re-match against Ampthill. The match followed the same pattern as the first with the well matched teams cancelling each other out for long periods. But as the teams tired, gaps began to appear in the defences, and Ampthill were first to draw blood as their winger pounced on loose ball and score in the corner. In the second half Royston rallied and strong running by Sam Edney created the space for Copeland to level the score. However, the parity was short lived as Ampthill worked the ball into space to release their centre into space to clinch a 10-5 victory for the visitors.