A magnificent draw against one of the top sides in the league - read the match report
Richmond returned from the Forest of Dean with two battling and hard earned points against second placed Cinderford. It was so nearly four points and a famous victory but a converted try in the last action of the match saved Cinderford blushes. Three yellow cards in the second half of the match finally proved too much for Richmond but they should be delighted with the quality and spirit of this performance.
Richmond made four changes from the side who drew with Ealing the previous week. Tom Chesters, Louis Grimoldby and Tom Gregory were called up for the backs and Ali Lyon rotated with Danny Parkinson in the forwards. J.P.Attlee made his debut on the bench and impressed in a late fifteen minute cameo.
The opening minutes proved torrid for the visitors as Cinderford claimed initial possession and went through the phases with rugged efficiency. The first scrum saw Richmond heaved off the ball and only a dropped pass prevented a likely try in the right corner. However Richmond gradually settled down and picked up the tempo of the match. Any match in the Forest of Dean will have a strong physical element and the first fisticuffs were evident after ten minutes, George Evans earning a yellow card for the visitors. The admirably steady Grimoldby converted the penalty and Richmond were into a 0-3 lead against the run of play.
Two minutes later, Richmond extended their lead with the first try of the game. Some smart handling and alignment provided Nick Moore with space for a clean break through the middle and the centre did well to run thirty metres before timing a good pass out to his left to the flying Tom Chesters, showing excellent pace from full back. Chesters very nearly made the corner but when he was just dragged down, James Greenwood was supporting well to take the pass and touch down under the posts. Grimoldby added the conversion and Cinderford were 0-10 down.
The visitors were a little unfortunate to concede the next score. Grimoldby put in a neat chip over the home defence and seemed to be late tackled. However referee Marcus Caton, who controlled a difficult game well, waved play on and, from the resultant pressure, Richmond were penalised and Mark Davies made no mistake.
With their first three points on the board, the home side claimed nearly all the possession, though the Richmond scrum now held their own. The first home try came from a line out. Richmond had done well to hold out concerted Cinderford attacks and will be annoyed to have then conceded a simple try at the line out, Luke Allen having a straightforward run to the try line. Davies’ conversion equalled the scores.
However, not to be denied, Richmond soon pulled ahead again with a penalty, Cinderford coming offside in defence. And ten minutes later, the visitors extended their lead back to ten points. Harison Edwards made the key break, getting outside his man to canter forty metres with James Greenwood outside him. When the winger was tackled deep in the 22, the home side conceded a penalty in desperate defence and from the line out, Richmond drove efficiently for the line, Chris Davies getting the touch down. Grimoldby added the conversion. The last score of the half was Cinderford’s as Davies kicked another penalty.
Going into half time with a seven point lead, Richmond knew that Cinderford would throw everything at them to preserve a proud home record. And so it proved. With Cinderford securing and retaining more ball, the Richmond defence was put under constant pressure and Cinderford now battered away at the visitors’ defence, urged on by their vocal supporters. Richmond were simply magnificent in defence but constantly leaked penalties, inevitably leading to yellow cards. After ten minutes Jason Phipps took the first yellow card but the visitors could gain no advantage, the seven Richmond forwards doing wonderfully well to hold the scrum on their own line. Richmond had rare break outs but on a couple of occasions Cinderford intercepted and nearly got away themselves. However, Richmond held out as the minutes ticked by.
The Cinderford right winger Nev Codlin was a constant source of danger, bouncing off tacklers and the big pack used all their power to attempt to find a hole in the visitors’ staunch defence. As the game entered the last ten minutes, Richmond’s task became harder and harder, Chris Davies receiving the first yellow card with ten minutes to go. Still Cinderford could find no way through till Mark Davies tried a variation by sliding through a grubber to the try line, Jack Adams just failing to follow up. This time Greenwood received the yellow card, presumably for obstruction and, with five minutes left, the visitors were now down to thirteen men. For three minutes, Richmond held out heroically as a frustrated Cinderford were forced into knock ons. But it could not last. And in the last two minutes, No 8 Evans finally powered to the line, almost knocking over the referee. There was just time for the conversion and the experienced Davies made no mistake. The fact that Cinderford rejoiced loudly at salvaging a home draw speaks volumes for a very gutsy and hard working performance by an improving Richmond side.
Director of Rugby Steve Hill commented; ‘I am extremely proud of my whole squad. To come to Cinderford who stood third in the table, play on a soaking pitch and them be ecstatic with gaining a last minute draw shows how far we have improved this season. The grit and determination shown in the second half will be important to reproduce each week. Our challenge is now to convert potential winning positions into four or five points and I am confident we can achieve this. To have 16 points after six matches, three of those games against three of the top six teams in the league is a solid start’
Tries: Greenwood, Davies,
Conversions: Grimoldby (2)
Penalties: Grimoldby (2)
Team: T.Chesters, J.Greenwood, N.Moore, T.Gregory, W.Browne, L.Grimoldby, J.Gibbs(R.Shaw), A.Lyon(D.Parkinson), J.Phipps(T.Cobb) , T.Walford, W.Warden, C.Davies, T.George,H.Edwards, S.Ackroyd(J.P.Attlee).