Narrow Verulamians defeat Royston’s first in Herts/Middlesex One this season

The two sides battle for the ball

The two sides battle for the ball - Credit: Archant

Royston suffered their first defeat of the season with a slender 16-14 loss to St Albans-based Verulamians at the Heath on Saturday.

The home side, who had beaten Saracens Amateurs the previous week, found themselves under pressure from the kick-off and they were soon behind.

An error, forced by the relentless attack, allowed Verulamians’ George Harding to pick up a quick three points from a penalty.

Following Royston’s restart, Vees again went on the attack, pushing the home side back, however, an astounding display of pace by Will Dacey staved off an attempt at the try-line.

As the first half continued, it was Royston who found their form and began to pressure the Verulamians line with repeated phases of play stretching the visitors and an error in their own half allowed Royston a chance at the posts.

Dacey kicked from the 10-yard line into the wind and picked up a well-earned three points.

As the half drew to a close, Verulamians were again awarded a penalty that was cleanly struck by Alex Ricci to hand the away side a half-time lead.

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As the second half began, it was clear that both sides were hungry for a victory.

Royston’s pack began to work more effectively, putting up a wall in defence and working phases to allow the backs space to run.

Both sides conceded penalties within striking distance, Dacey once again proving his mettle and Ricci also hitting the mark.

The first and only try of the match came on the back of some excellent attacking play by Royston.

Will Cottrell chipped the ball cross-field, over the Vees’ defensive line, and it was chased down by Lee Gilbert who used his strength to ensure the try was scored. It was converted as the hosts went 11-9 up.

Royston, holding on to their lead, continued to batter the visitors’ defence, however, a penalty conceded in the Crows’ half allowed Verulamians to once again hit the