Simons says mine's a treble but Datchworth are made to work hard for Royston spoils
PUBLISHED: 15:37 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:41 20 February 2019
A hat-trick for John Simons was enough to bring a ninth straight win for Datchworth in London Three North West - but they were made to work for every inch of the 44-29 success by a dogged Royston side.
In fact the final score was slightly harsh on the north Hertfordshire club and had it not been for solid organisation from the Men in Green, this boisterous Royston side could well have ruined any promotion dreams for the villagers.
As it is Datch are now five points clear of Stevenage Town in second place, with the two sides meeting in the next round of fixtures on March 2 knowing a win would stack the odds of promotion in their favour.
Here it was the home side who took the lead within five minutes, Stu Young making the break and putting second row Simons into space for the first of his treble.
But soon, thanks to a few penalties, Datchworth were defending a line-out on their own 22 and with plenty of pace and a deft chip, Royston bagged a converted try to give them the lead.
Back came the hosts though as two tries restored their advantage.
Liam Walker got the first, crashing through from short range, and Stu Young the second from a pushover scrum.
However, yet again Royston fought back as they snaffled two almost-identical tries in five minutes to lead 19-15, both combining the very dangerous outside centre and wing pairing with good support and offloads.
The introduction of Sam McBroom settled Datchworth down slightly and the lead would soon change hands again with James Watt scoring in the corner.
But it was Royston who trooped off after a breathless half with the lead, a well-struck penalty making it 22-20.
A different Datchworth came out after the break and a Tom Bennett run got them into a nice position and a sharp lineout saw Simons crash over for his second.
Sam Brunton added the conversion and Tom Wood stretched that lead even further with a dart over the line.
But with 15 minutes to go Royston’s bonus-point score closed the gap to just three points at 32-29 and gave them a sniff of victory.
However, Datchworth remained composed and tries from Watt and Simons in the final minutes gave them the win with a flattering result.