Richmond Vikings get their revenge!
RN Senior XV
Following their first defeat of the season, 17-15, to the Royal Navy Senior XV in March, the Richmond Vikings were out for revenge in the re-match, and revenge is what they got, winning 19-15 at the Athletic Ground.
Kicking off in daylight, the conditions were good and the pitch soft after the short rain showers earlier in the afternoon. The first ten minutes of the match were played in the centre of the pitch with some early pressure being applied by the Navy Seniors. Richmond responded but it was the Navy who had the first opportunity to put points on the scoreboard with a penalty kick in the 14th minute taken from 40 yards out. Huntley kicked straight but lacked the power and narrowly missed.
When it came, the first try was scored by the Vikings, but they did not add to the score by converting. Richmond led 5-0. The Navy reacted well. Some accurate passing and a great break by Number 7, Jarrard Hayler, created an overlap on the right, setting up the fullback, Rhys Dimmock-Williams for a try. The try was not converted, and after 20 minutes the score was level at 5 all. The teams looked well balanced and it was clear that the spectators were in for an exciting evening of rugby.
Both teams were keen to add to their scores and play continued fast and furious, both teams tackling hard. The Vikings broke under continued Navy pressure, giving away a penalty, 18 metres out, in front of the posts. Huntley added to the points and the Navy took the lead 5-8. The Navy dominated for the remainder of the first half, missing a kick at goal but then forcing a series of errors from the Vikings, which resulted in two yellow cards for the home team in quick succession. However, half time arrived before the Navy could capitalise on their numerical advantage.
There were several replacements at half time and it took a while for the RN Senior XV to settle down and Richmond were quick to exploit this, scoring a try and converting it in the 45th minute. The Vikings kept the pressure on the Navy and were able to add another score in the 56th minute, as the Navy ran out of numbers and the Vikings’ Left Wing scored. The points difference was widening, and the try was converted. Richmond looked dominant leading 19-8.
Meanwhile, the Navy were busy clearing their bench, Loydall replaced Huntley, Bowden came on for Chambers, Buinimasi came on for Davies and Collins came on for Priddey. It fell to Mat Tichias to rally the team for the comeback.
And come back they did. A great kick from Rees was fumbled by the Vikings and collected by the Navy. Buinimasi crossed the line and his try was converted, narrowing the score to 19-15. For the next 20 minutes both teams fought hard, but despite several chances for each side, there were no further scores during the match. Final score 19-15 and the Vikings had their revenge!
The Navy will be pleased with their performance in the set pieces. Their lineout was strong, and their scrum particularly effective, the energy levels were high and the pace throughout the match good. However, Richmond had a score to settle, and were determined not to be beaten at home by the Navy twice in one season. The Navy were unable to turn their extra numbers into points at the end of the first half and while the Navy replacements settled in, the home team scored twice, and the Navy couldn’t catch up.
The Senior XV will play their final match against Devon RFC at Brickfields, Plymouth Albion on 13 April KO 1930 before they commence their Inter Service matches against the RAF and Army.
Images by Alligin Photography / © John Walton