Royston end wonderful year with county cup success over Barnet Elizabethans
PUBLISHED: 13:26 29 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:26 29 April 2018
Royston completed a wonderful year by adding silverware to their promotion-winning season with a 28-12 victory over Barnet Elizabethans in the Herts Presidents’ Trophy final.
Cheered on by raucous supporters at Allianz Park, the home of Saracens, the Crows were good value for their win, running in four tries.
But the opening six minutes gave no indication as to what was to follow.
Royston looked sluggish, as if the early start had left some still in bed, and after a kick to the corner Barnet took the lead, securing the line-out and allowing Sean Blake to go over in the corner.
But the lead was short-lived with the Crows levelling it up five minutes later.
It followed the first concerted spell of possession and they used to it good effect, marching up the sides of rucks into the 22.
A penalty was conceded which captain Ben Ritsema decided to send to the corner.
And it brought the first Royston score.
After the forwards were held up on the line on a couple of occasions, Cottrell decided to go cross-field and the bounce outfoxed the Barnet defence, giving Ritsema the simple try.
A second came quickly with the pace of Dan Ritsema proving crucial as he went over in the corner and Royston then had a period of dominance without too many chances.
The one that did come saw Max Finney power through before Sean Cassidy made the tackle and Barnet got back in numbers.
The Elizabethans did have a chance of their own immediately after with a quick break by the backs spreading the ball wide and it needed good covering from Jake Boyce to bundle them into touch.
A Will Dacey penalty stretched the lead before the try of the game, a wonderful individual effort from Joe Butcher, bursting through the middle and throwing a delicious dummy pass, put Royston 20-5 up at the break.
Again, like the first, the second half started scrappily and it was 17 minutes old before Dacey slotted a second penalty to further push Royston’s lead.
There shouldn’t have been any but if there were doubts as to the result they were eliminated on 62 minutes when Dacey went over after good work from Boyce to bounce a tackler out of the way.
The rest of the game petered out as Royston’s stranglehold on the game kept Barnet at bay until Aston Stephenson went over late on and Will Sharratt added the extras.
It didn’t matter though and the sight of the trophy in the hands of Ritsema capped an almost perfect season.
Royston: Fouracres, Brooke, Sparkes, Brain, Gilbert, Butcher, Finney, Drummett, Smith, Cottrell, D.Ritsema, Ellis, B.Ritsema, Boyce, Dacey
Replacements: Muirhead, Hiom, Green, Pow
Tries: B.Ritsema 11, D.Ritsema 15, Butcher 40, Dacey 62
Conversions: Dacey 40
Penalties: Dacey 36, 57
Barnet: Strack, McGowan, Avent, Oram, Ripsher, Pratt, Michel, Blake, Dewan, Wilkinson, Lennon, Sharratt, Stephenson, Marks, Cassidy
Replacements: Hardy, Laing, Bailey
Tries: Blake 6, Stephenson 78
Conversions: Sharratt 78
HT: Royston 20 Barnet Elizabethans 5
Referee: Chris Scott