Dire discipline deals a draw

Royston 15 Chess Valley 15 ROYSTON'S relegation woes continued as they were forced to settle for a draw, on Saturday. Having been penalised two points for being unable to fulfil a fixture earlier in the season Royston found themselves bottom of the table

Royston 15 Chess Valley 15 ROYSTON'S relegation woes continued as they were forced to settle for a draw, on Saturday. Having been penalised two points for being unable to fulfil a fixture earlier in the season Royston found themselves bottom of the table but still in touch with the teams above them. The game began well for Royston who took the initial advantage both in terms of territory and possession. It was only a lack of discipline at the breakdown which saw the visitors take an unlikely lead through a penalty kick. This caused no dent in Royston's dedication as once again they took the game deep into Valley's half. However, when a missed tackle on the wing allowed the visitors to break for the line, Royston found themselves a further five points behind despite having been the better side. Having manoeuvred their way into the opposition twenty-two the Royston pack hit a big scrum, allowing Dicky Leighton to send a testing pass to Dave Marvell who, with some magical handling, found his way over the Valley try line. Chris Wallis stepped up for the conversion but was unable to add the extra points. Place kicking was an area where Royston struggled with four out of four attempts being missed by three different players. As half-time approached Royston took a further knock when the referee sent Dave Rice to the sin bin for over enthusiasm at the side of the ruck. This decision bemused the Royston players given that the referee had decided not to punish one of the Valley props for a clear punch on flanker Jack Hillman only minutes earlier. Following half time the play belonged almost entirely to Royston as time and time again they attacked the Valley line. Playing into the sun Royston kept the play simple with mauling play from the forwards taking precedence. This gave the Royston skipper Kirk Woodford the chance to crash over from close range, giving Royston the lead they deserved. This spurred Royston on further and a third try was added when winger Steve Bass latched onto a Robert Turner pass. At this point in the game it was all about Royston as there looked little that Valley could do to stem the tide. Once again however, as has happened in several games this season, ill discipline began to creep in and Royston lost all the momentum. Mistakes began to be made, which although initially caused no damage, ultimately it was one mistake too many that cost the home side the win they had deserved. A high tackle from the Royston hooker followed by an immediate infringement at the breakdown, led to a second home player heading for the bin. From this Royston players were penalised on four occasions near their own line which saw the referee awarding the penalty try which gave the visitors what can only be described as a fortunate away draw. Old Albanians 31 Royston 31 This rip-roaring highly competitive match was played in great spirit, bright sunshine and a gusting wind on the open plains near St Albans. Royston started uncharacteristically brightly, repeatedly surging to the OA's goal line only to be narrowly repulsed. Some big defensive kicking, supported by a following wind, succeeded in clearing the OA lines and good field position led to an early converted try to the Albanians. Royston fought back strongly, forwards and backs combining in waves to gain valuable yardage. A break from fly-half Peter Grieve set up a try for James Watson in close support. Then the monolithic Ben Paton, fed by Ed Hall, broke down the left-wing in an unstoppable run for a second try. Tom Greaves converted both tries to put Royston 14-7 up. The black-and-white tide continued to roll led by their dominant pack. Flanker Charlie Brooks repeatedly outmuscled his opposite number; Mark Richardson made energetic surges. From this platform space was created for the grateful Royston backs. Greaves came close in the corner, Grieve dummied his way over the line, then James O'Sullivan joyously pounced on a bobbling ball to score. With both tries unconverted, half-time came with the score 24-7. With the wind at their back, Royston might have expected an easier second half. But OA's dipped into their large pool of reserves and pulled out a few aces. The tide turned as they repeatedly cut through the tiring Royston defence. Three tries, one converted, left the scores tied with 10 minutes to play. A moment of inspiration from Royston captain Grieve, shimmying through the defence to score single-handedly, restored the lead following Greaves' conversion. Cruelly they could not hold out and OA's converted try tied the match with the last kick.

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