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1st XV (Men) - Match centre

Kilburn Cosmos
London, A Smith, E Rees, D Ritsema, S Muirhead
, , ,
W Dacey
, , ,
W Dacey (2)
Sat 2 Mar 15:00 - London & SE Division - London 3 North West Full time Attendance 100

Crows secure London 3NW survival with bonus point win over Cosmos


Royston secured another season in London 3NW next year with a crucial win against close rivals Kilburn Cosmos on the weekend

After a positive performance at promotion contenders Datchworth last time out Royston welcomed close rivals Kilburn Cosmos to the Heath this Saturday knowing a good performance would go a long way to securing their status in London 3NW for another season. Once more, a mixture of youth and experience was incorporated into the match day squad, with several Colts given another outing after performing well in the last game.

Royston played into the wind in the first half knowing they’d have to be disciplined to prevent large territorial gains by Kilburn and they started the game well. Possession was well retained, and forward momentum was evident across the park, forcing Kilburn to concede several penalties that eventually led to fullback Will Dacey slotting the first points of the day for a 3-0 lead after ten minutes. Royston continued to spread the ball wide whenever possible as they looked to get the Ritsema twins into space at every opportunity. However, Royston’s ill-discipline and execution began to waver, and a poor scrum led to a Kilburn turnover that eventually resulted in the first try of the day after several pick and goes on the Royston line, converted for a 7-3 Kilburn lead midway through the half. Further pressure from Kilburn should’ve resulted in a second try shortly after but somehow a bouncing ball in the Royston in-goal area was knocked on with no-one in close attendance. Reprieve welcomed, the Crows finally started to get back on the front foot through the forward pack, who apart from the scrum above, were dominating the physical forward battle at every opportunity, with 65kg Luke Townsend at flanker putting big hits in all day. After several hard carries by the forwards, scrum half Adam Smith darted through a gap and found second row Lee Gilbert in close support. Gilbert beat the first man and then offloaded back to Smith who then seemingly put winger Ben Ritsema in at the corner, only for him to be dragged down short. Undeterred, Royston mayhem’d their way to the line, with prop Ollie London crossing for the try. I repeat, prop Ollie London crossed for the try. A well-struck conversion by Dacey rebounded off the post but Royston were back into the lead at 8-7. Royston controlled the remaining exchanges of the half but unfortunately butchered an attacking line-out right on half time to turn around with a one-point lead.

At half-time Royston introduced Charlie Sparkes and Matthew Muirhead from the bench to bolster the forward pack for the second half, with the Green twins (Jamie and Mark) departing for a well-earned rest. With the elements now in their favour, Royston would just need to be patient to eek out the win their performance was deserving of at this stage.

Royston continued where they left off in the first half with a strong forward platform allowing the backs to create space out wide and make good yardage. From a Kilburn line-out in their own 22, Gilbert managed to steal the ball without any elevation at all that allowed number eight Louis Dummett to rumble up close to the Kilburn line. A dart down the blind by Gilbert was well-repelled but his offload put second row partner Aaron Taylor on a hard-crash line to within inches of the Kilburn line. Quick recycling allowed prop Sparkes to crash over but he was held up in the act of scoring, with cries of desperation emanating from key supporter Vik Hulström on the touch line. Much like the key attacking line-out of the first half, Royston switched off at the resulting scrum and the ball squirted out to the backs when the push over try was the intended play. Nevertheless, Royston retained ball in the Kilburn half, and when their scrum half was sin-binned for a high shot on Dacey, he duly stepped up the edge Royston further ahead on the score board at 11-7. From this point, Royston really turned it on. With Kilburn pressing hard on the Royston 22, a Joe Butcher-esque grubber kick was gratefully gathered up by Smith and he cantered a full 75m to score Royston’s second try of the day, Dacey once more hitting the post with the extras. Shortly afterwards a well-executed blind side move off the scrum allowed Smith, Muirhead and Gilbert to make significant yardage before Gilbert knocked on. However, excellent scrum pressure from the Royston eight forced Kilburn into a hurried clearance that was well fielded by the Royston backs. The golden “two passes” later, and outside centre Euan Rees scorched into the corner for a third score of the afternoon, conversion missed by Dacey. With Royston in the ascendency, they pushed for the bonus point try and after Ben Ritsema had been unleashed down the right-hand side of the field, his twin Dan was set free down the left after an excellent pass by outside half Will Cottrell to once more score in the corner. Faced with his most difficult conversion of the day, Dacey duly slotted it right between the uprights to extend Royston’s lead to 28-7 with about twenty minutes to play. With the game suitably “won”, the Crows completely switched off and were punished by two quick scores by Kilburn, both converted to narrow the lead to just seven points. Shaken, but back to the task at hand, Royston edged their way back into the game once more. An excellent turnover by Taylor allowed Dan Ritsema to break the line once more but the ball was knocked on. However, Royston quickly turned the ball over once again to put Rees and Ben Ritsema in space down the right-hand side with Ben once again stopped short. A few more forward carries on the Kilburn line eventually resulted in Muirhead barging over for his sixth try of the season. Although unconverted by Dacey, the try extended Royston’s lead to fourteen points with just minutes to play. To be fair to Kilburn, they pushed hard in the final few minutes and were rewarded with a converted try in the last play of the game that meant they left the Heath with two points themselves.

With Verulamians losing heavily once more on the weekend, coupled with Royston picking up the maximum five points on offer against Kilburn, ensures the Crows are safe from relegation with four games left to play. This is a great achievement for Royston, and one that needs to be built on for the rest of the season as they seek more wins from their remaining games.

Key moments

Penalty Will Dacey kicks a penalty for Royston
Try Try for Kilburn Cosmos
Conversion Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos
Try London scores for Royston
Penalty Will Dacey kicks a penalty for Royston
Try Adam Smith scores for Royston
Try Euan Rees scores for Royston
Try Dan Ritsema scores for Royston
Conversion Will Dacey kicks a conversion for Royston
Try Try for Kilburn Cosmos
Conversion Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos
Try Try for Kilburn Cosmos
Conversion Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos
Try Saffa Muirhead scores for Royston
Try Try for Kilburn Cosmos
Conversion Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos


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80:00 Conversion 33 - 28
Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos
79:30 Try 33 - 26
Try for Kilburn Cosmos
76:30 Missed Conversion
Will Dacey misses a conversion for Royston
76:00 Try 33 - 21
Saffa Muirhead scores for Royston
71:30 Conversion 28 - 21
Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos
71:00 Try 28 - 19
Try for Kilburn Cosmos
68:30 Conversion 28 - 14
Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos
68:00 Try 28 - 12
Try for Kilburn Cosmos
66:05 Sub Off
Max Ayliffe is substituted off for Royston
66:00 Sub Off
Chris Ellis is substituted off for Royston
65:30 Conversion 28 - 7
Will Dacey kicks a conversion for Royston
65:00 Try 26 - 7
Dan Ritsema scores for Royston
61:30 Missed Conversion
Will Dacey misses a conversion for Royston
61:00 Try 21 - 7
Euan Rees scores for Royston
58:30 Missed Conversion
Will Dacey misses a conversion for Royston
58:00 Try 16 - 7
Adam Smith scores for Royston
56:00 Penalty 11 - 7
Will Dacey kicks a penalty for Royston
55:00 Yellow Card
Yellow card for Kilburn Cosmos
40:06 Sub On
Charles Sparkes is substituted on for Royston
40:04 Sub Off
Jamie Green is substituted off for Royston
40:02 Sub On
Saffa Muirhead is substituted on for Royston
40:00 Sub Off
Mark Green is substituted off for Royston
End of period 1
30:30 Missed Conversion
Will Dacey misses a conversion for Royston
30:00 Try 8 - 7
London scores for Royston
20:30 Conversion 3 - 7
Conversion for Kilburn Cosmos
20:00 Try 3 - 5
Try for Kilburn Cosmos
5:00 Penalty 3 - 0
Will Dacey kicks a penalty for Royston
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Royston
  • Kilburn Cosmos
  • 0
  • Will Dacey Penalty 5:00'
  • Try 20:00'
  • Conversion 20:30'
  • London Try 30:00'
  • Mark Green Sub Off 40:00'
  • Saffa Muirhead Sub On 40:02'
  • Jamie Green Sub Off 40:04'
  • Charles Sparkes Sub On 40:06'
  • Yellow Card 55:00'
  • Will Dacey Penalty 56:00'
  • Adam Smith Try 58:00'
  • Euan Rees Try 61:00'
  • Dan Ritsema Try 65:00'
  • Will Dacey Conversion 65:30'
  • Chris Ellis Sub Off 66:00'
  • Max Ayliffe Sub Off 66:05'
  • Try 68:00'
  • Conversion 68:30'
  • Try 71:00'
  • Conversion 71:30'
  • Saffa Muirhead Try 76:00'
  • Try 79:30'
  • Conversion 80:00'

Team selection

Dacey, Will Dacey, Will
Ritsema, Ben Ritsema, Ben
Rees, Euan Rees, Euan
Ellis, Chris Ellis, Chris
Ritsema, Dan Ritsema, Dan
Cottrell, Will Cottrell, Will
Smith, Adam Smith, Adam
Dummett, Louis Dummett, Louis
Townsend, Luke Townsend, Luke
Green, Mark Green, Mark
Gilbert, Lee Gilbert, Lee
Green, Jamie Green, Jamie
Mills, Minty Mills, Minty
London London

League round up

Other London 3 North West results



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League table

# Team Pl Pts
6. Old Merchant Taylors' 22 57
7. Harrow 22 56
8. Cheshunt 22 51
9. Kilburn Cosmos 22 39
10. Finchley 22 35
11. Royston 22 34
12. Verulamians 22 10

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