Ricci’s boot helps Verulamians snatch a late win over Royston

The two sides battle for the ball

The two sides battle for the ball - Credit: Archant

A penalty by Alex Ricci five minutes from the end was enough for Verulamians to edge a closely-fought encounter at Royston.

Ricci grab nine points in total in the 12-11 win having trailed by two points in the closing stages.

The win was based on the tenacity of Vees forwards give their backs good field position inside Royston’s half.

They struck first in the opening minutes of the first half Vees, George Harding taking advantage of a penalty for offside.

And the Vees’ backs remained constantly on the front foot, but were unable to force a break due to Royston’s tackling.

Royston did have attacks of their own and a high tackle by Vees on 20 minutes allowed them to level the scores.

But Vees made sure on the advantage going into the break with a long-range penalty form Ricci.

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The second half opened with strong running from both Sam Crowne and James Hayes but neither could evade frantic defending and good tackles deep inside Royston’s half.

Alex Ricci did have a couple more potshots at goal, missing on a couple, but both he and his opposite number did split the uprights to give Vees a 9-6 lead.

Royston thought they had wrapped the game up though when they scored the only try, a kick over the advancing tacklers giving the winger to chance to touch down in the corner.

With time running out it seemed as if Vees would leave with only a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.

But an offence by Royston at a scrum gave Ricci a 40-yard attempt at the posts and he made no mistake.

The win puts Verulamians into second place in Herts Middlesex Division One and they will face the team ahead of them, Old Streetonians, on Saturday at Cotlandswick.

The 2nds were also victorious in North Hertfordshire, beating Royston 24-10 ofr their second Herts Merit win.

And as with the first team, they also had to come from behind after trailing 10-7 with 20 minutes to go.

The 3rds could not make it a clean sweep, losing away to Amersham & Chiltern. However, this is the first time in five years that the club have been able to field three teams on a regular occasions and skipper Pritam Vekaria foresees exciting times ahead.