Back to back defeats for Richmond has Hill asking questions

Wimbledon Guardian: On the scoresheet: Tim Walford was among the points for Richmond, but the game ended in defeat On the scoresheet: Tim Walford was among the points for Richmond, but the game ended in defeat

Richmond director of rugby Steve Hill is expecting a reaction after his charges suffered a second consecutive National League One defeat going down 50-17 at Fylde.

Despite an impressive first half display, which still had Richmond trailing 14-10, the hosts pulled away after the break to run up their half-century of points.

Hill said: "We needed to make more of  the possession and position we had in the first 25 minutes when we were by far the dominant team.

"In the second half Fylde played the best 40 minutes of rugby anyone has played against us this season.

"Our players take pride in their performance and they will be hurting after Saturday. I expect a significant reaction to this defeat when we meet Blackheath in our next game."

Richmond started the game well, putting Fylde under pressure from the kick off, and after eight minutes, Richmond had their first opportunity when a ball squirted out of a set scrum and a neat grubber down the touchline by scrum half Jamie Gibbs was just over-run by a flying Will Browne.

Nevertheless, the visitors maintained the pressure well and Fylde were penned into their 22 as they tried to escape under their posts.

The Richmond defence pushed forward well to try to force an error but some deft handling gave winger Ben Rath a half-yard of space and he escaped down the right flank to find support inside.

Richmond covered desperately and managed to haul down the first attack in their 22 but Ben Harris, on short term loan from Leeds, was supporting well and drove over. Chris Johnson added a good conversion and, against the run of play, Fylde were 7-0 up.

Richmond responded well and a strong run by Adam Gadsby almost put Greenwood away.

A minute later, opposite winger Browne was knocked into the corner flag by a double tackle as he looked clear. Referee Andy Taylorson brought play back to a penalty but the chance was missed.

Still Richmond dominated possession and territory but they were having to work hard to make any yards and small mistakes were again too common.

Two grubbers to the corners offered some variation and Richmond finally opened their scoring in the 26th minute when Tom Platt stroked over a penalty.

Full back Platt was again busy minutes later when a fine tackle prevented another Fylde breakout, this time down the left.

The next score came after 32 minutes and was again frustrating, as it was probably the second or third time Fylde got into the opposite 22.

Richmond did well to hold out on their line and must have heaved a sigh of relief when they cleared to the 22.

However, Fylde showed their ability to break back at speed when the prolific Oli Brennand danced round two tackles to run diagonally to the corner, and back under the posts, to take the score to a harsh 14-3.

Just before half time, Richmond at last took full advantage of a powerful break by JP Attlee and Greenwood, the forwards retaining the ball well and working their way to the posts with a succession of pick and drives, completed by Timmy Walford, to take the half time score to a hopeful 14-10.

The turning point in the game came two minutes into the second half, when Fylde scored their third try to extend their lead to 11 points.

The initial danger was again created on the wing, Bratt slipping several tackles before some excellent recycling allowed prop Dan Birchall to power over.

For a while, Richmond remained competitive, Browne setting up one attack and a 10-metre line out looking threatening.

But it was not Richmond’s day and the ball was lost as the pack mauled forward.

Fylde soon had their bonus point and the next try, stemming again from the breakdown of a Richmond attack.

The home side were very quick to seize advantage and, when a big overlap looked likely to be butchered, scrum half Ryan de la Harpe was on hand to get the touchdown.

With a steady drizzle and the dark closing in, Fylde now looked full of running and Richmond were at full stretch trying to close them down.

Johnson took his side’s lead to 29-10 with a penalty and the darting Rath got a deserved try when he was quickest to a loose ball, as a Richmond attack was turned over.

Substitute Henry Taylor preserved some honour by darting in, following a tap penalty and a good run from the hard working Browne.

But Richmond had no choice but to keep the game open as they vainly sought a try bonus point.

Instead a confident Fylde side scored two more tries themselves, both from the backs, as the flying Rath and substitute Richard Kenyon again showed how to exploit loose turnover ball.

Louis Grimoldby line kicked beautifully to give his side a late chance but the pack were penalised for ‘truck and trailer’.

It was that sort of day but credit to an excellent opposition, and Richmond now have a week off to draw breath, regroup and prepare for three very tough pre-Christmas matches.

 

 

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