Tott-ering on the brink

PUBLISHED: 10:12 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

ROYSTON are staring relegation in the face after losing to fellow strugglers Old Totts. A trip to their relegation rivals was arguably the best chance for Kirk Woodford's side to turn their season around having been un-rewarded for good performances of la

ROYSTON are staring relegation in the face after losing to fellow strugglers Old Totts. A trip to their relegation rivals was arguably the best chance for Kirk Woodford's side to turn their season around having been un-rewarded for good performances of late. A strong squad of 19 made Saturday's trip, looking to make safe their Herts and Middlesex League Two status. Royston discussed the need for good discipline and attitude throughout the game. This ethos was soon ignored as hands in the ruck saw Royston penalised in front of their posts. Totts' fly-half had no problem in slotting over the three points. Royston attempted to regroup but took another killer blow when a bouncing kick was not dealt with by either full-back or winger, allowing Totts to scramble over for five points. Totts' fly-half, who kicked well from hand all day, also had no issue from out by the touchline as he converted with aplomb. Royston's heads did not go down as they came back at the hosts, with good forward play from the front eight giving the visitors the majority of possession. This was aided when the referee yellow-carded the home side's flanker for stamping. Unfortunately, the few times in the first half when Royston got close to the try line they were thwarted by handling errors or resolute defending from Totts. At the break, Royston had managed to dominate without making any impression on the scoreboard. Skipper Woodford could only ask for more of the same in the hope that finally the gap would emerge to get the required points. Points did come early for Royston in the second half when Mark Lisher kicked a penalty, giving Royston the boost they needed. There was a succession of chances for Royston to draw level but none provided the crucial points. Neil Smith did ground the ball having supported a break by Scott Easy and Charlie Fidler but the referee adjudged the final off-load had been forward. With further good scrummaging from the front row of Stevenson, Patmore and Shackleton, Royston allowed for Dave Marvell at fly-half to kick into space behind the Totts' defensive line. Despite Chris Wallis and Steve Bass doing everything to capitalise on these kicks it was to no avail as time and time again the Totts' fly-half cleared to safety. As frustrations grew for both sides, Totts saw a second player sent to the sin bin for retaliation following a further stamping incident at the breakdown. Ultimately, Royston were unable to add to the scoreboard and had to swallow a bitter defeat, having been on top for all but the first 10 minutes. With three league games remaining, Royston will have to dig deep to ensure they avoid the drop.

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