Green upbeat after Old Boys squeeze in
Old Grammarians 12 Royston 8 KEVIN Green s first game in charge of Royston ended with a narrow four-point defeat against a strong Old Grammarians side, but the new head coach remained positive. Green replaced the departing Luke Green last week and travel
Old Grammarians 12 Royston 8
KEVIN Green's first game in charge of Royston ended with a narrow four-point defeat against a strong Old Grammarians side, but the new head coach remained positive.
Green replaced the departing Luke Green last week and travelled to the hosts North London ground knowing that it was always going to be a tough encounter - and so it proved.
Head coach Green told The Crow: "Despite the loss I think it was a good start.
"It was a tough encounter against a very good team. The last time we played them, Old Grammarians won by more than 60 points, so it's certainly an improvement.
"I was encouraged by the great spirit and commitment the team showed, and I'm looking forward to the weeks ahead."
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But Green will be hoping his side get out of the blocks quicker in their next game, with the Crows' slow start not making things any easier against their tricky opponents.
Within minutes the visitors were pinned back on their own line as the hosts dominated the opening exchanges.
But thanks largely to some excellent tackling, Royston held firm as Old Grammarians failed to capitalise on their early possession.
The visitors then began to build on their own spell of possession as their forwards dominated the set piece lineouts and scrums.
Unfortunately, during this spell full-back Rob Turner went down with a twisted ankle and while he was receiving treatment the home side took advantage by kicking deep.
And with no full back cover, Old Grammarians ran through and gathered the kick and grabbed a try against the run of play. `
When Chris Ball replaced the injured Turner, the Crows continued to push forward, and their hard work was soon rewarded with a well-taken penalty by fly-half Jason Deards to take Royston into the break 5-3 down.
Royston then started the second half strongly as their forwards created a number of problems for the hosts.
And the Old Grammarians defence had no answer when prop Steve Patmore drove over from five metres.
The conversion was missed, but it did give the away side the lead their play deserved.
However, Royston were unable to capitalise on their dominance, and instead fell foul of some strange refereeing decisions.
As a result of one, number 8 Scott Easy was supposedly deemed to be offside and when the hosts took a quick penalty they sped through and snatched a try.
Following a successful conversion Old Grammarians wrapped up the game with a win that was not entirely deserved.
Green said: "I was particularly pleased with the performance of our forwards and they played exactly how I asked, by keeping the ball tight and working well in numbers.
"We were strong in the scrummages and lineouts and took several of the opposition's put-ins.
"We saw some very poor refereeing decisions and at times we suffered from a few lapses in concentration which let the game drift away from us.
"As a result the team was disappointed, and we felt that this was a game we could have won.
"The players have all got great individual physical skills, but we now need to work on the mental approach and get total concentration for the full 80 minutes and get the blend right as a team.
"We have a strong squad that will make my team selection difficult over the coming months despite the fact we are losing Jack Hillman, Nick Alford, Jack Hoile, and Charlie Fidler, who are off travelling."
However, despite the Crows losing four first team regulars, they did welcome back club captain and key man Steve Clay, who returned to action on Saturday after a long injury lay-off.
Green said: "It was good to have Steve back.
"He offers good leadership both on and off the field and he is highly respected by players and coaches alike.
"Vice captain Scott Easy has taken on the role of captain admirably in his absence, and having the two of them working together can only enhance the team."
- Royston entertain the Herts and Middlesex 2 North league leaders Cheshunt at the Heath on Saturday.