A Win is a Win!
By LI Bohemian
December 29 2016
Now, one really good thing should come out of this match, this being that Richmond are not a pub team or a try bonus point waiting to happen, if teams turn up at the athletic ground with this thought at the back of their minds, they could go home wondering if they might be the pub team themselves. Semi professional still has the word professional in it.
That point aside the match was quite a thrilling encounter with the result in the balance right up until the last minute, each set of supporters having their chance to rally their team on.
The ground comprised of one large stand with one set of toilets, making the queue for the gents at half time an exercise in bladder control, why they have not discovered porta-loo’s in this part of Londinium is amazing, but then we are near Twickenham which has the same amount of urinals per attendee.
The game started with Irish pressurizing Richmond, and being awarded a penalty, the response from the hosts was swift with a try scored by attacking the Irish right hand flank, where some tackles were ridden well or performed badly. Through a strong line break from Ransom, Irish got into a good field position in the Richmond half, worked the ball to Blair Cowan to finish off with a try. Irish increased their lead with a try for Mulchrone, who latched onto the deftest of chips from the outside boot of Marshall, this is becoming a very successful weapon in the Irish attack.
With the score at 5-15 to Irish, you might think, that the Irish had the momentum on their side, but they managed to lose this through sloppy play, notably some poor lineouts, as Irish stumbled, Richmond pulled themselves together playing some good rugby, retaining the ball very well. The Richmond back line showing some crisp, precise running lines, I was impressed with Richmond and slightly fearful for Irish at the time. Richmond were rewarded for their endeavors with a try and also, with the last kick of the first half a penalty, making it 13-15 to Irish at half time.
The second half started with Irish stepping up, to push Richmond hard, though not as we have been used to lately with a brace of tries after the break, but via two penalty kicks (a more cautious approach). Just as I had thought the tide had finally swayed the way of Irish, this being after De Chaves scored through a rolling maul, Richmond increased the intensity of their play to force Irish into their own half for the rest of the match.
Richmond got another try to make the score 20-26, and then pressed hard for the win. Irish without Bell playing could not clear the ball far enough to stop the attack on them moving out of their own half, luckily the defense for Irish was better than it had been earlier in the game, this prevented any further points being conceded by Irish.
When the final whistle blew, the relief was clear to see from the Irish players, let alone the collective exhaling of breath from the away support. Irish may not have too many get out of jail cards left and will probably learn a good lesson from this close but entertaining game to win a little more convincingly.
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