Gallery: Deards' magic foot not enough to save Royston
Royston 12 Hendon 35 THERE was a prospect of an upset on the cards at half time on the Heath on Saturday as Royston led league leaders Hendon, but they were unable to hold on for the draw in the best conditions that winter has permitted since Christmas. W
Royston 12 Hendon 35
THERE was a prospect of an upset on the cards at half time on the Heath on Saturday as Royston led league leaders Hendon, but they were unable to hold on for the draw in the best conditions that winter has permitted since Christmas.
With their opponents taking the game to them down the slope and with the wind and sun behind them, Hendon were surprised at the bruising early onslaught and conceded five penalties during the first half within kicking range.
With the exception of one which slid agonisingly past the post Jason Deards' foot worked wonders and he calmly converted the rest, but unfortunately for the home side the only time Hendon got out of their half some slack marking from a maul on the Royston 22 allowed the Hendon number seven to jink his way through to score an unconverted try.
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The half-time score of 12-5 did not flatter Royston who had dominated territorially and had pressed Hendon hard without ever getting close enough to the try line to look like scoring, but in the second half Hendon cut out the fancy frills and turned to the strength of their pack as Royston's forwards tired after the exertions of the first half.
Within five minutes of the restart they had scored two push-over tries and one from a rolling maul from a line-out stolen from the Royston throw 15 metres out.
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Royston were now tackling like men possessed and consistently knocking back the Hendon attackers round the fringes of the scrum, but Hendon continued to keep it tight and eventually the gaps opened and they darted through to score three more unanswered tries before the end of the game, the last in the final minute.
Fortunately Hendon, despite using four different kickers, failed to convert a single try, including one from straight in front, which hit a post.
This kept the score down to more accurately reflect the difference between the two teams and the effort that Royston put into the game.
Next Sunday Royston travel to Barnet for the quarter-final of the Hertfordshire Presidents' Trophy, a tall order against a side near the top of the league two.