New combinations give Royston hope

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:55 11 May 2010

Royston 10 Hertford Exiles 15 ROYSTON took a break from Herts/Middlesex league action at the weekend and instead played host to Hertford Exiles in a friendly game. The game gave the management a chance to try out some new combinations following some rece

Royston 10 Hertford Exiles 15

ROYSTON took a break from Herts/Middlesex league action at the weekend and instead played host to Hertford Exiles in a friendly game.

The game gave the management a chance to try out some new combinations following some recent poor results as well as give first team opportunities to some of the promising talent form the club's second team.

The Crows opted to start the game with the strong cold wind to their backs but faced into the low sun which made swirling high balls difficult to deal with.

As with other recent results, the first quarter of the game was a very even affair with Royston enjoying some good advantages in the scrums but they were unable to take advantage of this good work and went behind when Hertford opened the scoring with a well worked but unconverted try.

The Crows remained composed as it was clear that the game was there for the taking, and minutes after conceding the five points captain Jamie Green sensibly decided to give Andy Smith a chance at goal on the edge of his kicking range.

Reliable as ever, Smith slotted the penalty over to close the gap to just two points and although the scores stayed at 5-3 until half time both teams had rewarded the chilled crowd with some impressive running rugby.

Royston took advantage of the half time break to make a number of changes with upcoming league and cup games in mind.

As the second half started the home team had a chance to take the lead early when they received a penalty within kicking distance but the strong wind made the attempt sail just wide of the uprights.

Hertford took advantage of their opponents' miss by scoring themselves, when Royston's uncharacteristically poor tackling allowed the visitors to run the ball over the line for a converted try.

A quick regroup and some strong tackling from the likes of Paul Laurence and Morgan Wayland reduced Hertford to a few close chances, but they were unable to score any more tries during the remainder of the half.

Royston began to pile on the pressure with the forwards gaining lots of ground through some good running and hungry for his first try for the club Billy Richardson crashed through the Hertford defence from just five meters out to score just right of the posts.

With the conversion added the home team was back to within two points and with the game so close and Royston camped in their opponents half, it looked like a win could now be moments away.

However, a rare trip into the Crows' half saw Hertford claim a penalty kick to extend their lead to five, leaving Royston in need of a converted try for victory.

The home team upped their pace and attacked Hertford's line for final five minutes and although in the last play of the match they managed to cross the line near the posts the move was deemed to have been illegal and the final whistle blew.

Although they lost the match, Royston's tactical discipline was probably the best they have produced this season.

This, combined with a newly found pairing of James Martin and Mark Howard at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, gives the Crows optimism leading into next week's home friendly against Ely.

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