Depleted under-18s brave in defeat

PUBLISHED: 09:18 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:54 11 May 2010

Braintree u18 37 Royston u18 19 A SPIRITED Royston battled well at Braintree despite making the trip with only 15 players, no substitutes and lacking a recognised hooker and thrower. Things looked ominous from the off, when after a few minutes a drive by

Braintree u18 37 Royston u18 19

A SPIRITED Royston battled well at Braintree despite making the trip with only 15 players, no substitutes and lacking a recognised hooker and thrower.

Things looked ominous from the off, when after a few minutes a drive by the home pack resulted in an unconverted try, but it wasn't long before Dan Ritsema carved his way through the home defence to score by the posts, with Andy Smith converting.

The lack of a hooker began to tell as Braintree kept winning Royston's scrimmage ball - the home team won 80 per cent of these - and Royston went into the break 10-7 behind following another Braintree score.

Things got worse for the visitors when captain Adam Smith had to leave the field at half time with an injured hand, and although the home team lent Royston a full back the understanding just was not there.

With Braintree now winning 80 per cent or more of the possession Royston were really under pressure and it was not long before the home side scored to extend the score to 17 - 7.

However Royston were defending very well and managed to claw their way back to just three points behind when Andy Smith scooped up a loose ball caused by a thumping Royston tackle and sped 40 yards to the posts for a try he converted himself.

At 17-14 Royston were well in the game still but then lost Malik.

Although they were lent another player this change disrupted Royston even more and immediately Braintree used their increasingly abundant possession to score a fourth try.

But still Royston wouldn't cave in and within minutes they used what little possession they were getting to build a good attacking position from another ripping run by Ritsema, who was stopped under the posts.

The pack recycled the ball quickly and Stuart Goldfinch was able to squeeze in the corner to take the score to 22-19.

However, Goldfinch was injured when scoring and his departure left Royston with 14 men and James Sherlock was limping badly.

As Royston tired in the last ten minutes Braintree ran in three more tries to make a flattering scoreline.

Royston look forward to a return with a full squad.


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