Michael Hollister the star as Verulamians stay top of the tree against Royston

Verulamians Rugby Club first team after beating Royston in Herts Middlesex One

Verulamians Rugby Club first team after beating Royston in Herts Middlesex One - Credit: Archant

Verulamians ensured it would be a happy Christmas as victory over Ryston kept them on top of the Herts Middlesex One tree for the festive period.

After losing their unbeaten record last week, pressure from the Cotlandswick-based rugby club’s promotion rivals was mounting.

However, one of those, Royston, were felled 22-17 in a hard-fought battle in the fog of London Colney.

The outcome was in doubt until the final 15 minutes when Verulamians turned the game on its head.

Replacement Michael Hollister was the hero of the hour, grabbing two tries, one of which was converted by George Harding.

His presence in the scrum brought Verulamians to life once more after Royston had appeared to have ground out a result.

The first of his brace saw him drive over in the corner while a penalty five metres out saw him power over again.

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Vees had taken the lead early in the game thanks to a side-step and hand-off by Tom Maile before a dropped ball allowed Royston a way to break and level the scores.

An infringement by the visitors five minutes before half-time gave Vees a penalty and George Harding put them back in front.

If Vees had enjoyed the greater share of the play in the first period, Royston gained the upper hand in the second.

Another mistake in the Vees back line gifted an interception score and the extended that lead to 17-10 with a penalty.

That seemed to be that until the appearance of Hollister.

Verulamians and Old Streetonians both have 48 points but Vees edge it with a better points difference.

The two teams meet in the first game of 2017, Vees travelling into London on January 7.

Before that though there is the small matter of the annual ‘lads v dads’ charity game.

That takes place at Cotlandswick on Tuesday, December 27.

There will be a game for the club’s mini’s from 11am with the adults, players from Verulamians, St Albans and Old Albanian starting at midday.

All are welcome and the proceeds from the day will go to the RFU Injured Players Foundation

For more information go to www.rfuipf.org.uk