Too little too late for Royston

PUBLISHED: 14:46 23 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:07 11 May 2010

ROYSTON failed to work out how to combat the younger, fitter and faster HAC team until the game was already lost, despite a similar pattern to their away game in February. HAC kicked off down the slope and soon put Royston under pressure with their fast

ROYSTON failed to work out how to combat the younger, fitter and faster HAC team until the game was already lost, despite a similar pattern to their away game in February.

HAC kicked off down the slope and soon put Royston under pressure with their fast possession, slick handling and speedy backs.

Only five minutes had elapsed when they fed their left winger in space and he was able to side-step past several covering defenders before scoring under the posts to leave the conversion a formality.

Apart from one blind side pick up and drive over from an HAC back row player, which left Nick Alford injured in his wake, all of HAC's three remaining first half tries were scored by their backs, two of them being converted, leading to a half-time score of 31-0.

The game was so one-sided that Royston rarely crossed the half-way line other than to kick off. They were not helped by the referee's very strict interpretation of the high tackle law, which Royston constantly fell foul of but HAC mainly heeded.

Eventually, half way through the second half, full back Ben Ritsema was yellow-carded for being the last in a long line of transgressors and during his absence, Royston were unfortunate to concede two more scores.

The first came when a sloppy clearance kick was fielded on the 10-metre line by the HAC full back, who ran straight through the heart of the Royston defence without a finger being laid on him.

The second saw the referee incorrectly indicate a penalty to Royston and as the captain and centre came up to the mark she reversed the decision and allowed HAC to take a quick penalty and run through the undermanned Royston defence to score under the posts. Needless to say both tries were converted.

Galvanised by the apparent injustice Royston decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck, buoyed by the return to action of Ritsema.

The forwards, led by man-of-the-match Damion Fouracres, tore into the HAC pack and the visitors began to concede penalties and drop passes.

After the forwards had driven to within five metres of the HAC line and HAC had conceded yet another penalty, skipper Shaun McDermott took a quick tap, drew the cover and put veteran lock Colin Letch over unopposed

Edwards missed the conversion but Royston came piling back down the hill from the kick-off and the forwards drove right up to the posts. Several drives round the fringes from Number eight Scott Easy and Letch were held up on the line, but David Ayliffe showed them how to beat an upright defence by burrowing over between the legs to score under the posts. McDermott popped over the conversion to give Royston a measure of respectability and the referee blew for full time.

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