6:00am Wednesday 19th March 2014
Director of rugby Steve Hill admits Richmond’s last-ditch dramatics are becoming a habit as Rob Kirby’s kick at the death sealed a nail-biting 29-28 win against Cinderford on Saturday, writes Chris Bailey.
It was looking like a serene afternoon for Hill’s men as, 12-3 to the good after tries from Duncan Peters and Chris Davies, Cinderford’s Chris Bundy was shown a yellow card with 20 minutes gone.
But the hosts responded to take a 15-12 advantage going into half-time before Peters added his second try of the day just after the restart to give Richmond the lead once more.
Cinderford had other ideas however and bagged ten unanswered points to set up a grandstand finale in which the lead was swapped three times.
Rob Alexander’s converted try was snuffed out by Cinderford fly-half Mark Davies’ 76th-minute penalty, only for a calm and collected Kirby to slot through his own effort with time ticking away.
This time Richmond did not surrender victory and, now 14 points above the bottom three in SSE National League One, Hill believes his side are well-positioned to withstand a relegation battle.
“It was a very dramatic last ten minutes and it was the fourth Saturday in a row it’s come down to the final kick or a try either way – it’s not good for the coaches’ long-term health I’m afraid,” he said.
“But from our point of view we are incredibly happy to go to Cinderford and come away with the win and four tries, to take five points in our position was very important.
“It was a very even contest and both sides wanted to play rugby – we were probably too ambitious at times but that’s the way we play.
“It was just a fantastic battle and when it’s an invaluable game to win you’re going to get people making mistakes. Fair play to Rob, who has been totally nerveless over the season.
“The last kick was from about 35-metres out with pretty strong crosswinds but he nailed it between the posts and it’s certainly helped us.
“We all thought 60, 62 points would make us safe but three years ago Redruth were relegated with that.”
Next on the agenda is another away trip to Worthing Raiders, who are in a similar scenario to Cinderford down at the bottom.
And Hill is expecting Worthing to bring their very best – with the added advantage of having a week off.
“We’ve got a tough game against Worthing and as far as they’re concerned they are in the wrong side of the table,” Hill added.
“It will be very much like Cinderford, they are in the same situation and it’ll be a big scrap. They are known to be very good at the breakdown and are very much in the image of their head coach Kieran Dawson, who was a back row.
“They lost very narrowly at Cinderford the week before and we have had even encounters over the years.
“They have also had a week off so some of their boys will have been able to rest their wounds, but we’ll go in confidently.”
* SSE, proud sponsor of the National and Divisional Leagues, has £10,000 worth of mobile floodlights for your club to win. To find out how to enter go to www.SSERugby.com
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