Gallery: Dears kicks Royston to another vital win
Royston 14 Belsize Park 13 ROYSTON were hoping to do the double for the first time this season having convincingly beaten Belsize Park in the first league match of the season in Regents Park. However, since then Royston have lost a number of players to ga
Royston 14 Belsize Park 13
ROYSTON were hoping to do the double for the first time this season having convincingly beaten Belsize Park in the first league match of the season in Regents Park.
However, since then Royston have lost a number of players to gap year walkabouts and injury and have suffered humiliating defeats to Haberdashers, Wasps and HAC.
Belsize Park on the other hand have recorded some good wins and narrow defeats against some of the top teams in the league and looked up for this game.
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Surprisingly, when they won the toss Belsize elected to play uphill against the customary stiff breeze.
Royston soon made them pay with strong attacks from forwards and backs deep which resulted in two penalties easily converted by fly-half Jason Deards.
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Belsize, however, responded immediately to the second score by rampaging into the Royston territory for the first time in the game and being rewarded with a try which they were unable to convert.
Royston were still using the wind to good advantage and from a 22 drop out their outside centre caught the kick and powered his way over the line for a superb try to widen the gap to 11-5.
Belsize were not disheartened and yet again bounced back with a try to narrow the gap to a single point.
During the first half the Royston back row of Nick Alford, Will Phillips and Dave Aylesford had been outstanding, tackling anything that moved and preventing the bigger Belsize pack from gaining any momentum.
The tight five led by Jamie Green supported by Billy Richardson, Will Sparks and Steve Patmore dominated the scrums and used their influence to force Belsize to concede another penalty just before the end of the half.
Again Dears was on hand to step up to the mark and widen the gap to four points.
The lead was unlikely to be enough to win the game without determined backs-to-the-wall defence, but Royston were able to hold off their opponents through most of the second half.
It was not very pretty as neither side seriously threatened the other's try line and the tackling and commitment were ferocious but clean as only three kickable penalties were conceded all half.
Deards and his opposite number both missed when it seemed easier to score and the Belsize kicker was successful with his other attempt, to bring the deficit down to a single point.
However, despite a surprising 17 minutes of injury time Royston held out for a deserved victory to secure their league status for next year.