Watford’s 1st Team find themselves in their first cup final for a generation after completing a huge upset away to semi final favourites Royston, themselves a league above.
As expected, the hosts start strongly and enjoyed the majority of territory and possession for the first 15 minutes. Aggressive defence from Watford, notably Andy Lee and Greg Reeve ensured they were able to repel continual Royston attacks and, having weathered the storm, the away side began to gradually get themselves into the game. The Watford front row was taking the game to their more illustrious opposition at the set piece, and were able to force a number of turnovers against the head. This allowed the away sides dangerous backline into the game, with good ground being made by Yates and Langan. After another strong scrum, Watford were awarded a penalty, the attempt drifting narrowly wide. The major talking point of the match came 25 minutes in, when a boot made contact with the head of Watford centre Lee. Following a brief melee, skipper Flint was left covered in blood. The referee was unsighted and unable to identify the culprit, however a penalty was awarded which was duly converted by McGee to give Watford a deserved lead which they kept until half time.
Royston flew out of the blocks in the second period and soon found themselves ahead. A mazy run from the home sides winger culminated with him scoring under the posts to leave a simple conversion which was despatched, making the score 7-3 to the home side. Watford showed superb heart and stuck to their game plan, a series of tight drives taking them deep into opposition territory. Royston were penalised for illegal slowing of the ball at the breakdown, Butcher taking a quick penalty. The ball was worked to returning substitute Martin Lee, who crashed over the line near the posts. The extras were added, giving Watford a three point lead with 15 minutes left. Far from resting on their laurels the visitors continued to attack, McGee unlucky to miss with a long range penalty and two drop goal attempts. Royston struggled to escape their half, a combination of superb game management from Butcher and McGee allied with ferocious, committed defending ensuring the game was played as far away from Watford’s ‘red’ zone as possible. With both teams out on their feet, Watford were awarded a scrum just outside their own 22. The pack proved reliable, as they had been all day, and Butcher smashed the ball into touch to complete a famous win.
Watford 1st XV: G. Wilson, Flint, Hicks, Makinson (M.Lee 50), Tucker, Reeve, Munday, Godfrey (Philpott 60), Butcher, McGee, Yates, A. Lee, Menzies, Langan (James 50), P. Wilson.
Tries - M. Lee x 1
Cons - McGee x 1
Pens - McGee x 1
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