Unbeaten run brought to a halt
Royston 20 Old Ashmoleans 12 ROYSTON'S finest performance of the season saw them defeat the previously unbeaten Herts Middlesex Division Two North leaders on Saturday. Intense focus and commitment was demonstrated by every player on the pitch. The mis
Royston 20 Old Ashmoleans 12 ROYSTON'S finest performance of the season saw them defeat the previously unbeaten Herts Middlesex Division Two North leaders on Saturday. Intense focus and commitment was demonstrated by every player on the pitch. The missed tackles seen in previous matches had all but vanished and a general desire to upset the form guide was apparent. The game started with the visitors seeing most of the possession and establishing territorial advantage. However, Royston soaked up the pressure, making tackle after tackle in midfield and holding firm in the scrum. This pressure allowed the hosts to go ahead as Dave Marvell saw the gaps being left by the visiting attack. With quick turnover ball Marvell kicked from hand across field, where Chris Wallis took the catch and accelerated 40 yards to the line. Colin Letch, playing at lock, stepped up to slot over the conversion. There was a gruelling battle in the forwards with Kirk Woodford, the Royston skipper, and Ash Cooper excelling at the breakdown to provide the Royston line with clean ball. A consistent display by the referee saw regular penalties exchanged, with Royston receiving two in kickable positions. Again it was no difficulty for Letch with both attempts to give Royston a healthy lead at the break. Ashmoleans came out in the second half with slightly more conviction, using switch plays and dummy runners in the backs to try to create the required gaps. Royston knew this would be the case and usually covered the runners well. When the visitors did break the line Ratcliffe and Turner were able to provide the last line of defence to keep the score in Royston's favour. A second try came from the visitors' pressure which, following the conversion, left Royston's advantage at a single point. The commitment never waned as Royston took the game back to Ashmoleans, kicking several times deep into their half to relieve the pressure. With only moments to go, good impact running from Scott Easy, followed by some sound lineout work, allowed Ratcliffe to take on the visitors' line and force his way over to seal victory. With another solid kick from Letch, Royston had inflicted arguably the upset of the season on a bemused Ashmolean team.