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Home > News > Richmond 30 - Rosslyn Park 16
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Your News Richmond 30 - Rosslyn Park 16

Better on the day in just about every department, Richmond richly deserved their convincing win. Park had the better of the opening exchanges, taking the battle to the home side. An early kickable penalty was spurned for a kick to touch and a line out, from which Billy O’Driscoll scythed through the middle to be stopped illegally for a penalty in front of the posts. Pugh slotted it over for 3-0 after 3 minutes.

Richmond went straight back at them and Park were penalised at a scrum and home skipper Matt Hart made light of a difficult penalty to square things up after 5 minutes.

Four minutes later the home side took the lead with some smart play, working the ball wide for Clarke to make the score 8-3.

Park were struggling in the scrummages and simply could not im¬pose their patterns of play on a fired-up home side. When Park did threaten, some superb kicking from full-back Hart sent them back to their own 22. A high Park clearance was chased by skipper Rob Jewell to try to engineer a break, but the ball eluded his outstretched fingers, Richmond snaffled it and with almost clinical efficiency again worked it wide where a great supporting run from Hart saw him go in at the corner for 13-3 after 21 minutes.

Park were digging deep but making too many elementary mistakes to enjoy consistent possession. If it can fairly be said that poor and inconsistent refereeing did not make it any easier for them, then it must be added that – unlike their opponents – they lacked the guile and discipline to minimise his impact.

Park at least began to play their rugby in Richmond’s half, but were undone by a yellow card. It started when the ball appeared to have emerged from a ruck into open play and quick-thinking Howard Quigley went round and picked it up. The referee ruled that it was not out and penalised him, but then surprisingly called over skipper Jewell to warn him that the next offender would be in the sin bin. At a scrummage near the Richmond line, Park appeared to wheel it but, whatever happened within the confines of the scrum, prop Nick Hug¬gett was gob-smacked to be shown the promised card.

Park reacted well to this adversity by taking the game to Richmond, gaining a penalty close to the line when Richmond killed the ball. However, a mass punch-up ensued, and when the dust settled a player from each side (Amo Tauialo and Head of Richmond) were sin-binned and the penalty reversed. Lacking a prop and a hooker, Park were forced to withdraw two other players at the next scrummage to bring on Luke Charlton and Adam Blemings as safety replacements.

Park’s thirteen still competed and forced another penalty which Pugh chipped over to reduce the deficit to 13-6 with only a minute of normal time to go. But his glory was short lived when, almost straight from kick off, his attempted clearance kick was charged down by his op¬posite number, Simmie, for the softest of tries under the posts, with Hart’s conversion making it 20-6.

That deficit might have been manageable but, after a Park move was halted by a forward pass, Richmond hit them again with a good try, stretching the defence across the field for O’Keefe to plunge over to bring up the bonus point. Hart’s conversion made it 27-6 at half time.

Park came out in the second half, their pride clearly hurt, and threw themselves at Richmond. A good move saw the ball passed across the field for O’Driscoll to go over in the corner, a superb conversion by Pugh making it 27-13 after only three minutes.

However, Park soon allowed themselves to get penalised again and Hart’s kick extended the gap to 30-13. Both sides committed them¬selves utterly. Park shaded things in terms of territory but Richmond’s clear superiority at the breakdown starved them of the sort of consist¬ent possession they needed to set their dangerous backs running. The best chance came with a super run through the middle from John Swords, driven on by the forwards, and leading to a penalty in front of the posts.

Acceptance of the 3 points, so that a possible converted try would yield Park a losing bonus point, was possibly the pragmatic decision but did not go down well with the Park supporters. Pugh duly obliged for 30-16.

There was enough time for a second Richmond player to get sin-binned. Absolute commitment to the cause had seen Richmond run out of front row men, so scrummages were now uncontested. A great move out of defence by the home side almost caught Park on the hop. When, in the 9th minute of stoppage time, another Park at¬tack was halted by their being penalised for not releasing that was it.

Park will doubtless be asking themselves a few searching ques¬tions before they face Lydney in a rearranged match next Saturday. Safely in the upper-reaches of mid-table safety, Richmond played this match as if it was their cup final and they thoroughly deserved to win it.

Park: Simmons; Riley (Canty / Charlton, safety), Jewell, O’Driscoll, Swords; Pugh; Barr; Huggett (Charlton), Tauialo, Frazier; Quigley, Harris; Jones, Underwood (Bemings, safety / Anayi), Gates

Sub not used: Evans

Park scorers: O’Driscoll (T), Pugh (3P, T).

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