Perfect start for Royston

Royston 19 Lakenham-Hewett 17 ROYSTON made a successful start to the season as they progressed in the EDF Energy Junior Vase. The game began after a 25 minute delay whilst a replacement official was found and following a minutes silence for local spor

Royston 19

Lakenham-Hewett 17

ROYSTON made a successful start to the season as they progressed in the EDF Energy Junior Vase.

The game began after a 25 minute delay whilst a replacement official was found and following a minutes silence for local sports enthusiast, Nick Peters, which was respectfully upheld by both sides.

Lakenham's stand-off got the game underway and it was the side from the lower league that were quickest out of the blocks.

A clean line break by Royston centre Dan Fox forced Royston's backs immediately into Lakenham territory.

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A clever pop pass out of the tackle gave man of the match Steve Clay time and space to release speedster Michael Schurch to race over at the corner, only for the referee to disallow the try for a foot in touch.

The hosts' domination continued, again enabling Schurch to pin his ears back and dance through the visitors defence, only to drop the ball with the line at his mercy.

The resulting scrum was overturned by Royston's ever impressive pack and from the very next set play the forwards showed the backs how to do it with flanker Jack Hillman driving over from close range.

The try was unconverted and Lakenham were to quickly close the gap.

A well worked move lead to a dangerous looking chip from the Lakenham number 10, it was scrabbled clear from the Royston line but the ref spotted an earlier infringement and the penalty was converted to reduce Royston's lead to two.

Eventually the strain on Lakenham's defence proved too much with Hillman barging over following a line-out 10 yards out.

Schurch made the conversion and with only a Lakenham missed penalty in the remaining minutes of the first half, Royston went in at the break 12-3 in front.

The second half saw a more focused Lakenham team come out and straight away they put Royston on the back foot, with a quick break down the right wing by their number 13 who was able to get the ball to their fullback who, still with a lot to do, played a clever chip and chase over the Crows' defensive line, scoring a converted try near the posts.

Bringing the tie back within two points, Lakenham had their tails up and continued to control the game.

However, the Royston line stayed defiant frustrating the Lakenham pack, whose indiscipline enabled Royston to clear their lines.

Back in the visitors half an opportunist chip by Crows' stand-off Rob Turner outfoxed the Lakenham backline and when he collected his own kick, only an illegal block could prevent the score.

The referee also saw the foul and duly awarded the penalty try, which when converted extended Royston's lead to 19-10.

With less than 20 minutes to go Lakenham again hit back with a clean break through the heart of the Crows defence by their elusive number 13, that lead to the converted score under the posts, bringing the game back within two points.

The remainder of match saw both sides throwing everything they had at other, but neither side could add to the score.

n This Saturday sees the start of Royston' promotion bid in the Herts and Middlesex Three North League against Wasps, kick off 3pm at The Heath.

Cambridge Vanguards 29

Royston 19

ROYSTON Vets faced their first big task of the season with a match at Cambridge against the Vanguards and they made them battle right to the final whistle.

The Vanguards comprising of many first team players of a few years ago are a well drilled side and it was not long before they were rampaging through the visiting defence.

Their first try was a chip over the Royston's back line and they were away in open space to score under the posts.

With a very mobile back row, who tied up Colin Letch who was playing at fly half this week, the Royston backs had little room to run.

Cambridge were three tries up in the first 20 minutes and Royston began to fight and scrap for every ball.

Royston's first try was from sustained pressure with rucks and mauls and Colin Letch launched himself to the line and with an outstretched hand the ball was over for five points.

Royston's second try was a high up and under from a penalty in the middle of the park and with the speed of young Allie Merrydew on the wing the Cambridge fullback fumbled and Royston were now within a try of Cambridge. Merrydew duly converted his try.

Half-time saw a number of changes from both sides but still Cambridge just kept their noses in front.

Cambridge scored a try from deep in their half as they overturned a Royston attack but then Royston replied.

Cameron Murdoch redeemed his misdemeanor of last week with a try and Colin Dacey converted.

Cambridge dug deep and in the final few minutes as exhaustion set in Royston's defence were caught napping as a kick into the corner allowed their winger to score.

With Royston winning much of the line-out with Roy Phillips in the first half and Ian Clayton in the second and Billy Payne edging his opposite number in the pack this game was very close and made the Vanguards battle to the final minutes for their victory.

Royston: D Howell, B Payne, T Boyce, R Phillips, B Bergen, P Rabbetts, S Miles,T Richardson, C Dacey, C Letch , R Barker, S Crook, C Murdoch, A Merrydew, S Rees. Subs: J Cottrell, S Luckman, R Blisset, I Clayton, M McGarry

Royston U-18 7 Ely 50

THE new look Royston, featuring several players from the under-15s, found Ely too tough on Sunday.

The satisfying aspect of the defeat for the coaches was that despite conceding eight tries the Royston players never let their heads drop and conceded only three tries in the second half, won a number of rucks towards the end of the match driving with superior body positions and scored the final try when Patrick Mcgarry dived over from close range after a series of drives from the forwards.

Man-of the Match, Adam Oakman capped a fine display in both attack and defence by converting from in front of the posts.

Other players that caught the eye were captain, Alex Parker, hooker Dwayne Wilkins, who played the second half on the wing, Martin Goddard and Jonathan Davies.

It looks as though this season will be one of transition for Royston, but with the level of commitment shown and a lot of hard work it should still prove to be modestly successful.

Ely U-13 20 Royston 37

ROYSTON travelled to Ely on Sunday to contest their first match of the season.

Due to the size of both squads and, anxious to try out new players in unfamiliar positions, the match was divided into three equal periods.

Royston made their customary slow start and a combination of poor handling and a failure to close down the opposition winger, who ran in three tries in the first period of the game, meant a 15-0 deficit at the first break.

Having shuffled the pack, Royston started the next period in a spirited fashion and slick passing by James Clare fed Dustin Hone into the corner for the first of Royston's replies.

This was followed by a fine individual try by Harry Norman, whose mazy run from the half way line to score under the posts was bettered, during the next Royston attack, when Norman repeated his earlier score, this time from just within his own half.

With Royston now pressing hard at every opportunity, a turnover at an Ely line-out and quick passing through the backs led to James Murdock crashing over for a further try, taking two Ely defenders over the line with him.

Not content with resting on their laurels, and with their pack driving forward and winning the loose ball on every opportunity, a well rehearsed penalty move led to James Clare adding to the points tally by outpacing the Ely defence on the right wing and touching down near the posts.

Having scored five unopposed tries in the second period, Royston confidentially moved into the third period and continued to impose themselves upon the opposition

A sixth try followed shortly afterwards when Harry Norman again picked up a loose ball, and the score was completed with a conversion by Ben Doughty.

A spirited fight back by Ely led to their fourth score of the match following a penalty conceded by Royston 10 metres from their try line, before James Clare wrapped things up for Royston.