Royston cut down to size as unbeaten home record lost

Royston 10 Belsize 28 Herts/ Middlesex 2

ROYSTON’S unbeaten home record came to an end on Saturday in a fierce encounter with Belsize Park.

Belsize Park immediately took the game to Royston with strong running in the back line and it was clear Royston were in for a much sterner test than they had faced previously. It didn’t take Belsize long to take the lead and they did so after some fairly lackluster tackling from Royston failed to halt the Belsize backs who scored a converted try.

An endless string of scrums and lineouts gave the Crows pack an opportunity to display their usual prowess and they didn’t disappoint, in particular with Man of the Match Sam Morris defying the height of his goliath opposite number to disrupt the visitor’s set-piece.

The Crows then got off the mark through Michael Schurch touched down in the corner which was unconverted. If the crowd had hoped this was the wake-up call Royston needed, they were sadly mistaken as the score failed to galvanize the home side.

Royston were dogged by injury in the first half with Nick Alford, Rob Turner and Schurch all keeping physio, Jo Ayliffe, busy with the magic sponge. This was compounded by scrum-half Dan Fry’s dismissal to the sin-bin for venting his frustration at the match’s female official.

This left Royston disjointed with No.8, Jock, filling in among the backs. However the numbers were evened five minutes later when the giant Belsize Park second-row was also binned for repeated foul play off the ball.

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The visitors extended their score to 14 before half-time and If truth be told, they should have been out of sight by the interval but some dogged defensive work by Royston limited them to a 14-5 lead.

Alford was back on the field for a matter of seconds at the start of the second half before he too was given 10 minutes to himself after more unnecessary criticism of the officiating. This is the second home game in a row that the Crows have had two men sent to the sin bin and ill-discipline is something skipper Damien Fouracres needs to address if Royston are serious about challenging for silverware this season.

Despite having their backs against the wall, the Crows were not going down with out a fight and there was some good defensive work on display, especially by the industrious back row of Sam Morris, Chris Bearton and Jock. Although they had managed to hold up Belsize players over the line the pressure eventually grew too strong and the busy Belsize scrum-half bossed his forwards well at the ruck before they scored nicely in the corner. This was duly converted by the fly-half with a superb kick from the touch line.

Belsize turned the screw and forced Royston into making too many errors and stormed into a 28-5 lead.

There was still time for Royston to trouble the scorers again. Some quick thinking by Scott Easy released full-back Rob Morris who passed to Pete Collins who fed Schurch to bag his second try of the game which was unconverted.

However, this was little more than a consolation and doesn’t mask what was a poor performance for large periods of the match.

Meanwhile, Royston IIs overcame old rivals Black Horse 36-10 in an entertaining clash on the Heath.

The game started with tremendous pace with Paul Rabbetts and Simon Rees excelling with their pace and flair.

Black horse opened the scoring through a penalty and followed that up with a poachers try from their openside.