Gallery: Defeat unkind to Royston
PUBLISHED: 11:32 20 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 11 May 2010
Royston 10 Uxbridge 11 ROYSTON narrowly lost the first part of a weekend double-header on the Heath against an Uxbridge team who had beaten them 30-13 in November. As usual the wind was blowing strongly downhill and Royston elected to play with the elemen
Royston 10 Uxbridge 11
ROYSTON narrowly lost the first part of a weekend double-header on the Heath against an Uxbridge team who had beaten them 30-13 in November.
As usual the wind was blowing strongly downhill and Royston elected to play with the elements in the first half.
Although they kept their opponents penned in their own half for most of the first period they found it difficult to put points on the board.
The bigger Uxbridge pack made it difficult for their Royston counterparts and makeshift scrum-half Jason Deards to provide a good platform for the backs to attack.
The tackling on both sides was exemplary and the speedy Uxbridge backs only threatened twice with breaks from the outside-half and inside-centre but both forays were quickly snuffed out by cover tackles.
Although his service to fly-half Mark Howard was a bit erratic, Deards showed his value to the team with consistent attacking kicking, sniping runs and superb cover defence.
Eventually Uxbridge cracked and gave away a penalty in a kickable position midway between their 22 and ten-metre line.
Andy Smith made no mistake and skilfully curled his kick through the posts with the assistance of the wind.
Ten minutes from the end of the half Howard kicked a penalty into the corner and the Royston forwards caught the ball cleanly and drove their bigger opponents back over the line for Prop Steve Patmore to claim the try which Smith converted with ease.
In the second half Royston knew that their backs were against the wall and they were forced into an unforced change when Will Phillips replaced veteran Gary Ryall.
Chris Ball had already replaced the injured centre Joe Hillman in the first half and soon afterwards, flanker Nick Alford, who had had his usual solid game, had to go off with a damaged shoulder and Gary Ryall rejoined the game.
Royston held out for 20 minutes but then conceded a penalty which Uxbridge converted.
Jason Shackleton replaced Alex Hiom at tight head and shortly afterwards Uxbridge were awarded a fortuitous penalty as they had knocked on shortly before without Royston getting any advantage.
Justice was done because the visitors missed the kick but Royston conceded another penalty within a minute.
This time the Uxbridge kicker made no mistake and reduced the gap to just four points.
With five minutes to go and Uxbridge pressing more urgently a weak clearance kick was fielded by an Uxbridge centre who fed his bulky but surprisingly fast number three who barrelled his way through two tackles to score in the corner.
Although the conversion was missed Uxbridge had gone into the lead.
Royston suddenly upped their game and for the first time in the half really took the game into the Uxbridge half.
They managed to win two penalties near the 10-metre line and Smith optimistically stepped up to try to kick the winning points.
The first attempt agonisingly missed by a foot but the second faded well wide in the wind. Unfortunately there was no further time to try to score and Uxbridge were relieved to hear the final whistle.