We’re through – but Royston cut it fine
Old Cooperians 12 Royston 13 ROYSTON S great start to the season continued as they reached the second round of the EDF Junior Vase, with the narrowest of wins. They got off to a great start against their higher-league opposition, with Michael Schurch c
Old Cooperians 12
ROYSTON'S great start to the season continued as they reached the second round of the EDF Junior Vase, with the narrowest of wins.
They got off to a great start against their higher-league opposition, with Michael Schurch converting a penalty in the opening minutes.
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Coopers came back strongly and had an opportunity to bring the game level from a penalty given for Royston being offside, but their fly half could not convert.
The home side began to dominate and were able to take play up to the Royston five metre line following a penalty.
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A good catch and drive from the line-out saw Coopers get within yards of the line, only for the ball to go to ground.
The visiting side were under pressure from the resulting scrum and the ball went loose over the Royston try line.
Players from both sides dived for the ball and Old Cooperians thought they had scored, but the referee stopped play for an earlier infringement, allowing Royston to clear.
Royston were not out of trouble yet as Coopers continued to press.
Quick passing by their backs found their right winger in space and he was able to beat the covering defence to score a converted try under the posts, giving the home side a slender 7-3 lead at half time.
With the wind at their backs Royston came out hard in the second half, however the penalty count against Royston was starting to snowball, allowing Old Cooperians to dictate the game.
When Royston finally got the ball in hand, a great break by Fox, supported by Jack Hillman, got the ball to debutant Ali Meridew, who was stopped in Cooperians' 22.
The referee pulled the game back for an earlier infringement which Schurch converted, to bring Royston within one point.
Coopers failed to make 10 yards from the kick-off, which was collected by Leighton Ryan who fed Steve Pattmore who took the ball at pace.
The ball found its way to Schurch who chipped over the defence, only to be beaten to the ball by the opposition's full-back.
More pressure from Royston's pack forced Coopers to fumble their own ball - swift hands by the Royston backs gave Meridew room to manoeuvre, only to be brought down by a tap tackle metres from the line. Old Cooperians stole the ball and cleared into Royston's half.
There was a let-off for the visitors as Coopers missed a penalty. Straight from the drop-out, Coopers' number seven waltzed through the Royston defence but could not get to the line.
Royston reshuffled their back line, bringing on Rob Turner to replace Meridew, who had tackled like a tiger all afternoon.
The changes had an immediate impact, with Turner chipping over for Schurch to chase, but the ball went to a Coopers player.
Turner ripped the ball from the maul and got another Royston attack going, deep in Old Cooperians territory, only for the ball to be knocked on and cleared.
Royston continued to attack, sensing the game was there for the taking.
A clever chip from full-back Paul Dacey and a fortunate bounce allowed Schurch to ghost in under the posts, converted to give Royston a 13-7 lead, with time running out.
A couple of moments of madness gave Old Cooperians the opportunity to get back into Royston's half and they made it count, pushing their inside centre over for the score.
The conversion was missed and Royston were able to hang on in the dying seconds to secure their passage into the next round.
Royston's are back in league action this weekend, hosting Southgate at The Heath.