Wasteful Royston lose out to French

Royston RFC 3 London French 15

A WASTEFUL Royston RFC suffered a disappointing defeat at home to London French on Saturday.

Royston won the toss and opted to play into the gale-force winds in the first half, knowing their task was to tackle everything that moved in blue, and that full-back rob turner would be kicked at incessantly.

Royston stuck to their task well with Sam Morris and Scott Easy covering acres of ground, and the scrummage standing up to the loss of all three front-row from last week’s win at Old Merchant Tailors.

The only score of the first half came from a minor infringement just outside Royston’s 22, which the French full-back slotted home to make it 3-0 at half time.

Royston played the first 20 minutes of the second period in the French 22, attacking through their big forwards Richardson and Sparkes, and scrum-half Simon Kiwi having the odd snipe at any gap he could find. The French stood up to their task manfully and defended and frustrated Royston for long periods. During this phase of pressure Royston gained an advantage which fly-half Schurch expertly slotted to make the score 3-3.

If Royston thought the floodgates would open they were sadly wrong as on numerous times overlaps were wasted when the backs should have been used while the forwards kept the ball for two or three phases too many, and when the wind should have been used for territorial advantage too often Royston chose the wrong option of trying to take on an excellent French defence.

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Royston became frustrated as the minutes ticked by and matters got worse when a ball got knocked on by a Royston player deep in the French half before a French player hacked on, and with all players committed to the attack the Royston’s cover defence was left desperately short. So much so that No.8 Scott Easy made a despairing kick for the ball but missed and caught the French player instead.

This led to a penalty just outside the Royston 22 as Easy was awarded a 10 minute sin binning.

The French missed the kick at goal, but as the ball drifted wide Royston went to sleep. The ball rolled into the try area and was ignored by the Royston players who were thinking of their next move before the French ran through and dived on the ball to score the most unexpected and unconverted try to lead 8-3.

With only 10 minutes to go Royston kicked off full of energy and enthusiasm and went straight back into the French 22, with wave after wave of attacks repelled while numerous overlaps were again wasted.

Royston saw a glimmer of light when they were awarded a penalty inside the French 22 and under the posts which, if kicked, would have given Royston at least a bonus point. But a moment of ill-discipline saw the penalty reversed and Ayliffe sent for a 10 minute rest in the sin bin.

The French hoofed the ball out from the reversed penalty and it took a wicked bounce which beat the Royston winger to allow the French to gather up and run in a converted try to win the match and take the spoils.