Royston Rugby Club 42-10 Finchley: ‘Fortress Heath’ as Crows triumph

PUBLISHED: 17:12 24 September 2018

Royston Rugby Club first team at the Heath. Credit: Daniel Fear.

Royston Rugby Club first team at the Heath. Credit: Daniel Fear.

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Royston Rugby Club have earned their first win of the season as Finchley were dispatched 42-10 on Saturday.

Hannah Gallagher’s side’s first home game of the campaign saw a confidence-boosting win, as Royston maintained the Heath’s fearsome reputation, after the Crows lost only one game there last season.

Inspired by a clinical Will Dacey performance, Royston stormed to victory, as Finchley struggled to break through the hosts stubborn back-line.

The visitors looked to test the Royston defence early on the soggy Heath, but the home side contained well.

They performed crucial turnovers to clear, one of which saw them open the scoring.

As Finchley shifted the ball wide, winger Dan Ritsema stole the ball and stormed between the sticks before Will Dacey converted.

Royston failed to settle and conceded immediately. A bad exit kick allowed Finchley to grab three-points back.

The Crows refocused, and clever play from outside-centre Max Ayliffe put Dan Ritsema in space down the left.

After beating the covering defence, he carried the scrambling full-back a few yards before breaking free and charging to the line, with Dacey converting.

Royston didn’t let up. Joe Butcher charged down an attempted kick, gathered and beat the last man to score, before Dacey kicked for a 21-3 lead at half-time.

Finchley upper their intensity, and several penalties allowed Finchley a line-out five metres from the line. The ball was spun wide, where a training ground move earned Finchley their first try and conversion.

Royston responded from the kick-off, as hooker Theo Pow caught the ball and sprinted into the scattered Finchley forwards, who gave away a penalty which Dacey kicked to make it 24-10.

The game became a well-matched battle, but a Dacey penalty added another three points with 15 minutes left.

Then Royston grabbed a bonus try, as Ben Ritsema tackled a Finchley winger and stole the ball in the process. Full-back Dacey scooped the ball and set off, chipping the defence before expertly controlling the ball with his feet and diving on the ball for the try - all from his own 22.

An exhausted Dacey managed to keep his 100 per cent conversion rate, with 19 points overall.

Royston managed the dying minutes well for the victory. They travel to Old Merchant Taylor’s next Saturday.

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