Richmond 31 Yorkshire Carnegie 20

Quigs BDay350

Quig's 70th Birthday Celebration

In front of a good sized crowd, both Richmond men and ladies won their league games to set up an evening of club celebration. For the men, the win was especially creditable, their third in a row and probably their biggest scalp yet at this level as Yorkshire Carnegie were last year’s Championship runners up.  The five points gained takes this season’s league points to fifteen, seven better than London Scottish and fourteen ahead of Rotherham Titans.

Richmond made just two changes, the unavailable Martin Freeman and Jamie Gibbs replaced by Jordan Simpson-Hefft and newcomer Rhodri Adamson, ex Coventry.  Yorkshire Carnegie, who beat Richmond 41-3 at the end of last season, had won their previous four games and made just one change, Callum Irvine starting at fly half.

Richmond’s aggressive defence was a feature from the opening moments, a shuddering tackle giving them the early initiative. Carnegie’s trio of lamppost-like jumpers looked set to dominate the line out when they spoiled Richmond’s first throw but it was to prove an Achilles heel.  When Chris Davies did win the next line out, the forwards conceded a penalty setting up the maul and a booming Yorkshire kick set them up fifteen metres out. However, as they attacked down the touchline, Jono Woodward intercepted and set off for the try line seventy metres ahead. The winger had the pace and sense to angle his run to score and cut the conversion angle. Rob Kirby, in another excellent kicking display, duly added the points.

When Richmond dropped the kick off ball and went offside, the visitors had a chance to attack from the line out. But twice, Will Warden, in storming form, somehow stole their ball to clear the danger. However, when Carnegie got a scrum in the Richmond half, they successfully secured possession and lock Jack Whetton broke the defensive line before passing out to Louis Brown. The winger was just caught short of the line but there was plenty of support and George Watkins got the touchdown. There was a lengthy delay for Alex Davies to get attention and, after missing the conversion, the scrum half was replaced, both Yorkshire half backs now off the field. There appeared to be no direct replacements, centre playing at fly half and full back at scrum half.

Richmond’s best attack followed when Luc Jones tapped a penalty and inevitably found Ronnie McLean-Dents on his shoulder. He in turn passed to Jake Parker, Richmond’s Man of the Match, but there was a subsequent knock on. Nevertheless it showed the home side’s confidence in running the ball. After twenty-five minutes, Richmond got reward. Chris Davies stole another line out and after a scrappy pass, Kirby found some space to set up an attack, supported by the strong running Jesse Liston. The flanker sent Davies in close to the line and, when he was stopped, possession was retained till Luc Jones squirmed over from close range, Kirby converting.

However, Carnegie were still very much in the game and after a charge down almost brought a score, an attack down the left found clear space. Richmond just held out but a well-weighted cross kick bounced beautifully for Dan Sanderson and the big lock scored. Richmond had hoped to go in with a half time lead and, on the stroke of forty minutes, they made sure they would. A Carnegie kick went dead in the strong breeze, giving their opponents a scrum in their 22. Adamson, now on for the injured Jones, made the initial incursion before the forwards took over duties, Jeremy Cunnew claiming a try for the hard working front row. Kirby took the score to 21-10.

Carnegie started catch up early in the second half. When Kirby missed a rare kick at goal, No8 Ollie Stedman exacted full penalty, running hard at an uncharacteristically open defence to set up Chris Elder, once of Richmond, on a long run up the touchline for his team’s third try. Despite a wonderful touch kick to the corner by Adamson, Carnegie soon worked their way back to five metres but crucially conceded a penalty at the scrum. Almost immediately, Kirby added a long penalty to extend the lead. Richmond now seized control and dominated the next twenty minutes. No 8 Parker was just held up from one attack but the breakthrough came after half an hour. From a line out, ten metres out, the ball was spread wide. McLean-Dents did very well to stand up to a strong tackle and the ball was moved first left and then back to the right. A well-timed exchange of passes between Kirby, Woodward and Warden resulted in the outstanding skipper scoring the fourth try, converted by Kirby.  

A strange ten minutes concluded the game as referee Fergus Kirby awarded three yellow cards to Parker and Warden in addition to Carnegie’s Andy Forsyth. Maybe he tired of the increasing niggle but the thirteen man defence could not hold out Mike Myerscough who broke clear to earn his side’s fourth try and a bonus point, which they deserved
Steve Hill, Richmond FC Director of Rugby, commented; ’This is by some way the most notable win in my eight seasons at the club. Our line speed and dominant hits created large problems for their attack , whilst the off-loading in attack was the best so far this season. To have beaten last year’s Championship runners-up shows just how much progress this group of players have made. They should be incredibly proud of this performance.’

Tries: Woodward, Jones , Cunnew, Warden
Conversions: Kirby (4)
Penalties: Kirby
Team: R.Kirby, J.Woodward, C.Mitchell R.McLean-Dents,  J.Simpson-Hefft(B.Rath), F.Gabbitass, L.Jones,(R.Adamson) J.Cunnew (W.Goodrick-Clarke), R.Grimstone(J.Phipps), C.Trenier (J.Tarrant), W.Warden C.Davies, J.Liston(T.Saysell) , J.Allcock (A.Humfrey), J.Parker.