The Breakdown: Richmond Triumph 52-20 Over Rotherham
Richmond took just 35 minutes to claim their four-try bonus point in a dominating 52-20 win, which preserves their seven point lead at the top of National League 1.
Rotherham were swept away in the first fifty points but showed real grit to battle back in the last half hour and claim their own try bonus point in the final minute.
With the threatened storm holding off, Richmond were quickly into their rhythm, moving the ball through hands from the opening minute.
Tom Hodgson kicked a penalty after five minutes, the first of seven consecutive successful kicks. These were achieved from all angles and in spite of an unpredictable wind.
The first try followed four minutes later. The Titans struggled badly in the lineout in the first half and a crooked throw allowed Richmond to set up on their 22. From the scrum, the ball was moved right and then, when switched back the other way, Louis Lynagh forced his way over, powering through two tackles.
In the 14th minute, the Titans overthrew at the lineout and Ross Grimstone was the grateful recipient. Once again, the ball was quickly moved wide and Dan Kelly did very well to take the cover tackle and get his pass inside to Cam Mitchell, who scored his tenth try of the season.
Two minutes later, Richmond had a third try and it resulted from an individual piece of brilliance. Fly-half Sam Hollingsworth booted high into the home half and Lynagh safely caught the ball just outside his 22. The fullback was quickly into his stride and his pace and power enabled him to run straight through several would-be tacklers and into open space. With one defender to beat, Lynagh checked for support before accelerating round his man and touching down for his seventh try in seven games.
The home front-row now had their say, a mighty shove demonstrating their increasing domination. However, it was the Titans, who scored next, spreading the ball wide from a lineout. A long pass to Ben Robbins sent the winger clear into the right corner.
This proved to be a brief respite for Rotherham, as they conceded their first yellow card and then three more tries before half-time. It could have been more as Richmond constantly threatened and were only denied by small handling errors.
However, after 35 minutes, Chris Allman secured another lineout ball, the pack drove forward to suck in defenders and Jamie Gibbs timed his pass perfectly to send Ronnie McLean running in straight and hard under the posts.
Byron Hodge was the provider at the next lineout. When the ball was moved wide, some excellent hands and support play set Hamish Graham accelerating down the touchline and the big winger glided away from the defenders to run in from thirty metres.
Finally, in the last minute of the half, Rotherham conceded a penalty and another yellow card. Hodgson found another good touch, Alex Bibic won the lineout and the forwards rumbled over with Ross Grimstone at the back.
Leading 45-5 at half-time, Richmond added their seventh try in the 51st minute. Ronnie McLean and Tom Pashley ran powerfully to make the dents in the defence and allow Charlie Mulchrone to slip round the breakdown and touch down unopposed for his first club try.
Spectators may have expected a further avalanche of points but, if so, they underestimated Rotherham’s resilience. Richmond had emptied their bench and the swirling wind had picked up. However, the Titans had also sorted out their lineout and scrum and were now getting a fair share of the ball.
In the 71st minute, with Richmond looking increasingly frustrated, Rotherham scored their second try after a long period of pressure. Number eight Ben Waddington looked to have scored but instead another scrum was set. This time winger Robbins went for the touch down, which looked less certain, but, after consultation, the try in the corner was awarded.
With their loyal support urging them on, the Titans continued to probe the home defence and in the final two minutes got their reward. Richmond ran the ball out of their 22 but, when they lost possession, the Titans backs created an overlap on the wide left to send in Cooke for his second try.
Now in pursuit of a fourth try, the visitors immediately worked their way back into the 22. Just announced as the Player of the Match, Jake Parker was given a yellow card, and from a scrum, Sam Allan was able to squeeze in at the corner.
It was the sixth time in a row that an improving Rotherham side had scored twenty points and the third time in the last five games that Richmond had scored fifty.
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Richmond 52 defeated Rotherham 20
Tries: Lynagh 2, Mitchell, Mclean, Graham, Grimstone, Mulchrone
Conversions: Hodgson 6, Dennett 1
Penalties: Hodgson 1
Other Men’s Results:
Richmond Vikings 12 drew Ampthill 2nd XV 12
Richmond Saxons 7 defeated Rosslyn Park 2nd XV 59
Image courtesy of Dante Kim Photography.